The archaeological site of Tambomachay is together with Qenqo, Puca Pucara and Sacsayhuaman, one of the most important archaeological site in Cusco City. It is located only 7 kilometers from the ancient capital of the Incas. Due to its location, it belongs to one of the important centers in the ‘ceques’ or imaginary lines that started from Cusco and served the Incas to organize their sanctuaries and important centers. Its function was to provide water to nearby sites and as Inca baths. The harmony that exists between its stone walls and the nature that surrounds it makes it one of the most important places in the Inca period.
What does Tambomachay mean?
Etymologically, Tambomachay is a composed Quechua word, where Tambo means “Place” or “Storage,” and Machay means “Rest,” the proper translation would be “Place of Rest,” which gives us a hint of the potential purpose of this impressive structure.
According to archeologists, due to its architectural style, Tambomachay was a Sacred location for the Inca elite, it seemed to be a worship place where the Inca emperor used to bathe and cleanse his body and soul, which is why it is often referred to as the “Bath of the Inca.” Likewise, some theories point it out as a cult center, where the ancient community used to perform rituals and offerings to the water.
During Inca times, the water represented the masculinity of the world, whilst the Pachamama symbolizes femininity, both were portrayed as the fertility by the Inca culture. Therefore, they considered the worshiping of the water very important since it was the source of all life.
Tambomachay consists of a series of aqueduct canals and waterfalls, four walls that fit perfectly to a base held by three parallel terraces. The principal water fountain in this structure is called Ñusta Bath since it is similar to the ones found in Ollantaytambo, there are two more waterfalls that consistently supply the same amount of water.
Apparently, the Incas managed to conduct water from a nearby spring or river to this location, however, it is uncertain to know the source of it, which makes it even more intriguing. In addition, this location also had a royal garden perfectly irrigated by complex water channels that were especially made for this function.
Other historians have theorized that Tambomachay served as a control center for the people that came to the Cusco from the Antisuyo, though this was never confirmed. Its strategic location offers the characteristics of a military outpost but it is significantly more related to be a water cult center or a resting point for the Inca elite.
Thanks to the foundations discovered after the excavations, now we can deduct that it was an enclosured location, where the Incas looked to integrate the surrounding nature with the structure of the water temple. The civilization was characterized for perfectly merging their sacred buildings and citadels with the natural scenery.
The Tambomachay ruins are a group of stone structures, carved, formed by aqueducts, canals and waterfalls that come from wells and thermal springs nearby.
Architecturally speaking, Tambomachay Cusco consists of four walls or stepped terraces, which create three parallel platforms. In the last of them, a wall of 15 meters long by 4 high rises adorned by 4 niches. The blocks of stones have been fitted perfectly. The water reaches the lowest level through underground channels. In this place, two springs maintain a constant flow of clean water, which comes from another pool at a higher level. A similar system can be see in the staris of the fountains in Machu Picchu.
When observing the Tambomachay ruins from the river, there are two thick walls that cross the support wall. The one closest to the river has two large niches and the second, perpendicular to the first, has a double jamb door. This door was used by the Incas to highlight the importance of a building.
How to get to Tambomachay Cusco?
After flying from Lima, the capital of Perú, you will arrive in Cusco. To get to Tambomachay Peru from Cusco, you have 3 options:
- The bus to Tambomachay is very functional due to the short distance between Cusco and Tambomachay, so the minibuses, for a cost of approximately 10 soles, in a route of only 20 minutes arrive at the destination, stopping at the entrance of Tambomachay Cusco.
- Walk from Cusco To Tambomachay: You can also take a walking tour that will take you about 2 hours. We recommend you take a bus to Tambomachay and then return from Tambomachay to Cusco walking, this way you can visit the ruins that are on the way from Puka Pukara, Qenqo and you can even get from Tambomachay to Sacsayhuaman walking.
- The Tambomachay Tour is included in the city Tour of Cusco, which you can hire with any travel agency (almost all offer this type of service). These tours, mostly, offer breakfast and lunch, depending on the time you start, and include the Tambomachay entrance fee, this ticket includes a guided Tambomachay Tour and other services. These can cost $ 20 per person.
Other Tours in Cusco:
- Salkantay Trek 5 Days
- Inca Quarry Trail 4 Days
- Machu Picchu 3 Day Hike
- 2 Day Inca Trail Trek
- 2 Day Inca Trail with camping
If you want to visit Machu Picchu, we recommend you to book your Machu Picchu Ticket in advance, so you will enjoy your Vacation in Machu Picchu without any problem.