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This archaeological site, located in the lush and green Urubamba valley, Cusco, Peru, is made up of an ascending sequence of terraces adapted to the topography of the area, these platforms were dedicated to the cultivation of agricultural products for the Inca and his royal ayllu. It was a ceremonial and agricultural site.

Patallacta Perú was found by Hiram Bingham in 1912, shortly after arriving through the ruins of the great Machu Picchu.

Definetely, is an impressive attraction that you can´t lose on your trip to Machu Picchu.

Important Data of Patallacta Perú

Municipality: Machu Picchu

Latitude: -13.2314 / 13 ° 13 ’53’ ‘South

Longitude: -72.4314 / 72 ° 25 ’53’ ‘West


Patallacta (Quechua expression that expresses ‘city on high’), also known as Q’entimarka (city of hummingbirds) is an archaeological site located in Cusco, in the Inca Trail route. The complex is located in the Cusco region, Urubamba province, Machu Picchu district.

Patallacta (from Quechua) is an archaeological site located in Cusco. This Patallacta complex is located in the Urubamba Valley. This complex is located near the Vilcanota river, and not far from Machu Picchu.

Distance between Patallacta and other nearby cities

  • Ollantaytambo: 18.4 km
  • Santa Teresa: 20.9 km
  • Limatambo: 27.7 km
  • Huayopata: 28.3 km
  • Ancahuasi: 28.9 km
  • Zurite: 31.4 km
  • Huarocondo: 31.7 km
  • Maras: 31.9 km
  • Mollepata: 32.6 km
  • Urubamba: 35.2 km
  • Yucay: 38.5 km
  • Maranura: 39.1 km
  • Ocobamba: 40.2 km
  • Anta: 40.7 km

Etymology of Patallacta

Patallacta, also known as Q’entimarka, is a combination of two Quechua words-pronounced “pahta-yakta”. Hiram Bingham, the discoverer of Machu Picchu and many other Inca sites, affirms that “llacta” means “town” and “pata” means “height”.

Difference between Patallacta and Llactapata in the Inca Trail

In the resources and newspapers, scientific magazines, there are several archaeological sites called “Llactapata”. They are not always the same. Confusions may occur. This archaeological site is located in the vicinity of 88 km near the railroad tracks which goes to the town of Aguas Calientes.

The site that we present in this article is the one that is located in the proximity of the 88 km mark near the railroad tracks that run from Cusco to the town of Aguas Calientes.

Patallacta Perú is closer to the train tracks, while Llactapata is located on higher ground and is a smaller archaeological site. These two sites are linked to each other. Although they are not the same, the site called Patallacta is most often described as “Llactapata” in many magazine photographs.

Patallacta Ruins

This set of archaeological buildings is made up of 112 rooms, built with rustic stones joined with clay mortar, to which carved stones have been incorporated. It was a ceremonial site and the agricultural sector.

This site housed a large number of occupants, including travelers and soldiers manning the nearby Willkaraqay “fort”, and a rounded-walled sanctuary known as Pulpituyoc that had religious and ceremonial functions.

Some specialists believe that this place was an agricultural complex. The Patallacta Ruins has four sectors very differentiated by the shape and organization of the buildings.

All these sectors and subdivisions were interconnected by means of roads, paths and stairways. Patallaqta is located on a flat surface more or less elevated on the right bank of the Urubamba river.

Four Sectors of Patallacta Ruins

The sectors of this archaeological site are divided by internal paths and a trapezoidal plaza in the center. The eastern sub-sector consists of four large groups; the central sub sector has two large double-court blocks each and the western one has several courts with enclosures that face each other, leaving an open space in the middle. The agricultural sector is 600 x 150 meters and consists of two sub sectors; the upper agricultural sub sector, close to the urban one, consists of 12 long and narrow platforms that also serve as support terraces and the lower agricultural sub sector consists of about 13 large agricultural terraces. Agriculture was possible due to the existence of an irrigation system whose waters were captured from the left bank of the Cusichaca River.

The set has four sectors very well differentiated by the way the buildings are organized in each one, the first sector painted in light blue, has an organization based on two buildings facing each other with a patio in the middle.

The first sector has an organization based on two buildings that are located face to face with a courtyard in between.

The second sector, is made up of courts of four buildings around the central patio, it is the case that two lateral buildings, being together back to back, merge. Observe the size of the enclosures.

The third sector also shows a development of courts of four buildings, of smaller size, in front of a central plaza, as in the previous case, two lateral enclosures merge.

The fourth sector has courts of two buildings facing each other as in sector one, but of a larger size, and towards the extreme left there are two courts with three components one and with two the other.

The four sectors have a central plaza.

The Patallaqta archaeological site is made up of an ascending sequence of terraces adapted to the topography of the area, these platforms were dedicated to the cultivation of agricultural products for the Inca and his royal ayllu, according to some scholars.

At the top of the monument are several sets of quadrangular enclosures that must have been used by the people who were engaged in cultivation.

The group called Pulpituyoc stands out from the whole set. Pulpituyoq, is a ceremonial site, which was part of the huge urban center of Patallaqta or Llaqtapata.

On the platforms in the lower part of Patallaqta, near the Salcantay river, you will find Pulpituyoc, a ceremonial place of imposing beauty, since it is located above a rocky outcrop a few meters from the Pulpituyoc river, it has a circular shape, complemented by rectangular houses, it is accessed to the interior by a narrow access that reaches a circular space where the finely carved walls present large niches also carved in stone.

The Pulpituyoc archaeological center is associated with the Salkantay river and the traditional Inca trail, serving as a ceremonial center of major importance on the Purification path leading to Machu Picchu.

History of Patallacta Ruins

Patallaqta was burned by Manco Inca Yupanqui, who destroyed a number of settlements along the Inca road system during his retreat from Cusco in 1536 to discourage Spanish pursuit. In part due to these efforts, the Spanish never discovered the 4 day Inca Trail Tour to Machu Picchu or any of its settlements.

It is believed that a high-ranking Inca had ordered the construction of Llactapata and that the place must have had some relationship with Machu Picchu (located more to the northwest).

This archaeological complex was discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1912, shortly after having arrived through the majestic Machupicchu.

Bingham had many problems in discovering the dense vegetation complexes. The nearby Acobamba Valley Llactapata was also infested with poisonous snakes, and the height of the trees also prevented clear observations. The height of the trees also prevented clear observations, even though the team had put enormous efforts in cutting the vegetation below with machetes in order to pass through.

Shortly after being found, the ruins of Patallacta were again covered by vegetation. This site was thoroughly examined in 2003 by the Ziegler – Thomson expedition. Coming to the conclusion of Patallacta it was a very important place near the Inca Trail that leads to Machupicchu it was probably a sanctuary.

How to get to Patallacta Ruins?

In order to get to this beautiful archaeological attraction of Cusco, the visitor has to choose to follow the Inca trail (Classic Inca Trail, Machu Picchu 3 day hike2 day Inca Trail2 day Inca Trail with campingone day Inca Trail)   that leads to Machu Picchu.

Alternative Treks to Inca Trail

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