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Piquillacta, preinca city in the South Valley of Cusco

Piquillacta or Pikillaqta is one of the most famous and best preserved pre-Inca sites of the ancient cities that existed in Peru. But there are several ancient human settlements in Peru; each with specific knowledge and technologies, which later contributed to the establishment of the largest empire in the Western Hemisphere. The pre-Inca peoples who occupied the Cusco Valley were relatively “peaceful” peoples; they sought to dominate the natural resources of the area and the overlap and domination of their culture. Piquillacta was developed between the years 600 and 1000 AD by the Wari culture from the central Andes (Ayacucho), it expanded towards the south, being located in high Andean regions like Cusco and Sicuani, from there it expanded to the western valleys of the south coast in Arequipa.

Archaeological remains of Pikillacta
Archaeological remains of Pikillacta

Where is Piquillacta?

The archaeological zone of Pikillaqta is located near the town of Huacarpay, district of Lucre, province of Quispicanchis in the department of Cusco, 30 kilometers southeast of the city, about 3,350 meters in an area of approximately 50 hectares.

Location of the archaeological complex of Piquillacta
Location of the archaeological complex of Piquillacta

What does Piquillacta or Pikillaqta mean?

Piquillacta is a Quechua word where piki means flea, and llaqta, pueblo; could be translated as “the people of the fleas,” but pikialso refers to something very small, tiny, so it could also mean “small town“. It is known that the name Piquillacta was assigned to him after the arrival of the Spaniards. And although it is unknown its name in the incanato, it is possible that it was Muyuna (in circuit) or Muyna (of bad mood). At present this place is known as Huacarpay and is part of the complex of Pikillaqta in the South Valley of Cusco.

Pre-Inca City of Piquillacta (Pikillaqta) Culture Wari

Piquillacta is a pre-Inca city occupied by the Wari, they extended from here to the town of Paruro in Cusco. It is known that the Wari, before settling at Piquillacta, occupied Chelques, originally Lucre; its great expansion due to the characteristics of the valley of the Cusco caused that they developed towns with cultural characteristics proper to their culture, reached a high level of engineering their cities were raised under already established urban planning patterns, its advance was used by other cultures and perfected by the Incas.

City preínca of Piquillacta
City preínca of Piquillacta

Alfonsina Barrionuevo Peruvian historian, refers to Pikillaqta like this:

“The foot of Wayllonqa Hill, where it is Pikillaqta, an ancient pre-Inca city, glisten like gold in the sun. Flowers illuminate the ruins whose empty streets, giant car parks, two-story palaces and multi-family dwellings are hundreds of lizards they carry their heads gems red”.

What to see in Piquillacta?

Pikillaqta is located in the southern part of the Cusco valley, belonged to the Wari culture that extended from Ayacucho. Piquillacta is one of the things you have to do in Cusco, along with great visits like Pisac or Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley of the Incas ; in Piquillacta you can see sharp stone walls of the purest pre-Inca origin and possibly has been one of the main cities of the Wari culture of that time.

  • Qaranqayniyuj

    Qaranqayniyuj was the largest settlement after Pikillaqta. Some of its buildings are in the form of semicircles, built irregularly, part of it is in a natural hollow, and the other is on a plateau larger than the previous one.

  • Choqepucjio

    Choquepucjio is one of the most impressive constructions of the archaeological complex of Piquillacta, they are to the left side of the river Huatanay. These buildings have similar characteristics, constructions of 2 or 3 floors where the first plants are made of stone and mud, and the upper floors only of adobe and mud.

  • Urpicancha

    Its name could be translated like “house of the birds”, is one of the most important structures of Piquillacta and the Cusco; has platforms of extraordinary quality, excellently armed without amalgam of any type, is located in a small plateau with a huge mountain behind, to the east of the lagoon Huacarpay in Cusco.

  • Kunturqaqa

    Kunturqaqa is simply a large rocky promontory that protrudes from the Huatanay, west of the city of Cusco its name can be translated as “Rock of the Condors” and it is understood that they put that name to him since the rock has the form of the head of a condor; however the true meaning of the place is not known.

  • Plataformas Amarupata

    Amarupata means “place of snakes” and perhaps it was because the snakes abounded in this place; these platforms are to the southeast of the city of Lucre, its ancient water channels are magnificent and even now are used by the inhabitants of the area.

Ticket to visit the archaeological complex of Piquillacta

To enter the archaeological complex of Piquillacta must have the Touristic Ticket of Cusco (complete) or the partial ticket that includes the attractions of the South Valley in Cusco. If you wish we can help you to plan your itinerary for Piquillacta and other of the main attractions of the City of Cusco, just contact us through the Chat of the Site or a message to the email


Advice from people who have been there


Alexis D.By: Alexis D.

“Pre-Inca City“

“Very nice, different. It is an ancient village of Wari culture (pre-Inca). It has very nice buildings. I recommend carrying all kinds of protection against the sun.“


By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last Update, 09-05-2017