Peru: The Most Famous Stone in Cusco
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.