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Peru: The Most Famous Stone in Cusco

November 16, 2010

In Cusco the most remarkable worked stone forms part of a wall in back of the Cathedral and the Plaza de Armas.

Photo by Shawn Herring

Carved with twelve different sides or angles, the difficulty of executing such a work cannot be underestimated.  Were these walls constructed so for earthquake resistance only, or do they hide deeper symbolic meanings?  The Incas, ever the self-promoters, claimed they built the fantastic walls of Cusco but when you look at these monuments they seem to represent a deeper level of knowledge than that the Incas ever demonstrated to the Spanish.

In the old days you could touch, feel and explore these stones with your hands. I  touched it briefly with my hand last year and a man, dressed in a gaudy outfit to convince the tourists that he was a real “indio“, yelled at me that I was not allowed to handle the sacred object.   This is a new tradition, one I had never heard of in my many previous visits to the city.  I withdrew my arm as if recoiling from a snake and mumbled an apology.

My, how times change.  I’m sure the guard in his cheap synthetically-dyed native dress had  less of a clue as to the stones’ purpose than some of the visitors in our group.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. November 19, 2010 2:55 pm

    looks interesting… can’t wait to get there!

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