Peru is rich in hidden mysteries, ancient culture and testimonies carved in stone. In order to find out about these cultural wonders, one does not necessarily have to open up a history book. Although a great deal of the evidence of the Inca Empire (1425 CE – 1532 CE) was destroyed by the Spanish conquistadores, there is still an astounding amount of ruins in Peru that give us hints about this high culture.
At the same time, these stony remains also bring up many questions. Who were the Incas? How were they capable of constructing impressive cities, infrastructures and temples? Which beliefs were they driven by?
In order to experience this ancient culture first hand, one should pay a visit to the most famous ruins of Peru and Bolivia which have been preserved until today. In many we see elaborately carved depictions of the Incan gods. Who were these gods, and for whom did the Incas make such an effort to construct such stunning buildings?
Many believe that the Incas constructed for Wiracocha, the creator god and father of all other Inca gods. In Incan mythology, the earth, heavens, sun, moon and all living beings. Wiracocha, or alternatively spelled Viracocha, Con-Tici and Tiqsi Huiracocha carries various possible meanings. In the Quechua language, the language of the Incas, tiqsi can be translated as “foundation or base”, while wira means “fat”, and qucha means “lake, sea, or reservoir”. As such, the omnipresent god may carry the name of the “fat (or foam) of the sea”. Other names put more emphasis on function and significance: ticci (beginning) and Wiraqoca Pacayacaciq (instructor).
The Incan creation myth begins at Lake Titicaca, where Wiracocha is said to have created men and women using clay and he gave them clothes, language, agriculture and the arts. Later he created the animals and also brought light to the world by creating the sun, moon and stars.
Having fulfilled his work, the god is believed to have travelled the world, bringing it humanity and civilized arts before he made his way west across the Pacific, promising to return someday. But he was never to be seen again.
Worshipped at the Inca capital of Cusco, Viracocha also had temples and statues dedicated to him. In addition, humans, as well as llamas, were sacrificed to Wiracocha on important ceremonial occasions.
Until now, we can observe Wiracocha`s legacy. Near Lake Titicaca in Bolivia is an arch called the Gateway of the Sun, which was cut out of a massive block of stone and carries the figure of Wiracocha. Giving entrance to the sacred area Kalasasaya, the structure building measures 2.8 meters in height and 3.8 meters in width.
In the small village of Ollantaytambo, located in the Sacred Valley near Cusco, the face of Wiracocha, “the creator”, can be seen as a 140 meter high figure carved into the mountain. Ollantaytambo makes up one of the famous sightseeing spots in the Sacred Valley of the Incan in the Cusco area, which formed the center of the Incan Empire.
Check out our tours in Peru were you can experience the legacy of Wiracocha!