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City Tour: The inca Baths of Tambomachay in Cusco

20 May 2018 (3664 reads)

City Tour: The inca Baths of Tambomachay in Cusco

Tambomachay comes from two Quechua words: Tampu it was kind of accommodation and Machay, meaning cave, and refers to the many caves that surround the place and, according to the tradition, would have been venerated.

It is likely, however, that Tambomachay has been a nearby accommodation, a house, and this site, according to Bernabé Cobo (1653) it was originally called Quinua Puquio (the source of quinoa), "a fountain of two springs near Tambomachay. "

The complex is set in a stunning scenery embedded in the foothills of the mountain, carefully built around an underground spring water, a tribute to water as a source of life. Integration into the landscape is so successful that the complex seems to be part of it: not just a place where you can contemplate nature, Tambomachay is indeed part of the landscape.

It is for me inevitable to establish a similarity between Japanese culture and pre-Hispanic Andean world in terms of the relationship of landscape and traditional architecture.

In the specific case of public baths, both cultures established a link between water, the spiritual world and the landscape.

However, perhaps because the rains are less frequent in the semi arid Andes than in the forested Japanese archipelago, the baths in the Inca empire belonged to a more exclusive social group, a circle associated with the divine and sacred and linked to worship of water. Therefore, according to Fernando and Edgar Ellorrieta, it is noteworthy that from the nearly three hundred and fifty temples surrounding the city of Cusco in Peru, ninety-two of them were destined for the cult of springs and water sources.

Impressive masterpieces of engineering and fine architecture associated with fountains can be found at Tipon, Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu among others, and the baths of the Inca at Cajamarca were considered a place for relaxation for the ruler of the Incas.

This post will be focused on a small complex called Tambomachay, located about 8 kms. north of Cusco and close to the ruins of Puka Pukara.

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