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Tipon Archaeological Site

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Tipon Archaeological Site

As an emblematic sample of Inca hydraulic wisdom, we highlight Tipón in Perú, a town located 23 km southeast of Cusco, at an altitude of 3,560 meters above sea level, located in the Oropesa district, Quispicanchis province, it was a major shrine where water worship was rendered with the care and veneration that the Incas treated this element. This complex has been distinguished by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE) as a marvel of Civil Engineering. Respect for the natural environment and the technology used to mobilize the waters of the springs are a model of hydraulic engineering at the service of man and nature.

It is highlighted that it is the only Inca complex that is in perfect operation.

Name’s origin of Tipón in Perú

The renowned Peruvian historian Dr. Luis Antonio Pardo, believes that the current name of Tipón may derive from the Quechua word T Olímpuj, which means “to be boiling” and which alludes to the fact that the waters of the springs sprout as if the liquid were boiling. This name was assigned in modern times, since the original name was another.

History of Tipón in Perú

The Cusco historian Víctor Angles maintains that Tipón in Cusco could have been the Royal House of Yahuar Huaca, who retired to this place, after he deserted Cusco during the attack of the seasoned Chancas. Huiracocha, his son, faced the invaders and defeated them, entering Cusco triumphantly, being crowned Inca instead of his father.

The mestizo chronicler, Garcilaso dela Vega, relates: “Which gave rise to the determination of the son, because the whole court, which was the head of the kingdom, was inclined to his desire; and to avoid scandals and civil wars and particularly because he could not take it anymore, he consented to everything the prince wanted to do with him. With this agreement, they then traced a royal house, between the Muyna and Quepicancha narrows, in a pleasant place (that all that valley is), with all the gifts and delights that could be imagined from orchards and gardens and other royal hunting entertainments and fishery; that at the east of the house the Yucay river and many streams that enter it pass near it”. Angles assumes that the place identified by Garcilaso corresponds to Tipón.

The Watanay river passes near Tipón in Cusco and two streams that surround the entire complex flow from it, these could be the streams that the Inca chronicler talks about. Another similarity with this complex, are the platforms that would correspond to the twelve embankments currently in place.

This admirable Inca recreation is located on a highly uneven surface. In the times of the Inca there were no flat or horizontal terrains, everything was modified by the determined inhabitants of the Tahuantinsuyo to the satisfaction of its veteran and lackluster monarch.


The Tipón archaeological site is located in the Choquepata community, in the Oropesa district, within the Quispicanchi province, in the department and region of Cusco, at a height of 3,560 meters above sea level. The Tipón archaeological site occupies an approximate area of 2,200 hectares. This was recognized by scientists from the American Society of Civil Engineers, as an International Monument of Civil Engineering since 2008.

Tipón Archaeological Site

The sectors that make up Tipón ruins are: royal precincts, intiwatana, minor precincts, the viewpoint, called Cruzmoqo which means summit where there is a cross, platforms, canals, the wall, warehouses (collcas), agricultural and urban sectors. Among those that stand out are the gardens built on the basis of megalithic stone blocks, which constituted the Royal House that Wiracocha had the Inca Yahuar Huaca built for his father. On the other hand there are the petroglyphs and lithographs of Cruzmoqo.

Considered an icon of hydraulic engineering, it comprises a set of agricultural terraces, long staircases, stone-carved water channels and beautiful ornamental water sources. According to legends Tipon was one of the royal gardens that the Inca Wiracocha ordered to build.

The origin of the sacred waters in Tipón in Cusco

The origin of the “sacred” waters that run through the channels and end in sources and sewers of Tipón, are still being investigated. There are many versions in this regard, the most popular version by the guides is that the waters come from the summits of Pachatusan or from underground streams of the mountain. The advanced technology used to mobilize the waters of the springs for the service of man is undeniable.

The main sectors that make up Tipón in Cusco are:

Walls in Tipón ruins

Upon reaching Tipón ruins, one is impressed by its towering walls and the impressive development in hydraulic engineering where water was worshiped. The great defense wall that surrounds the complex is approximately 5 km long, 1 to 2 m wide and 5 to 10 meters high.


Platforms and underground channels in Tipón ruins

Due to the diversity and formation of the platforms, Tipón could have been a center for agricultural experimentation, as Moray is believed to have been. In times past, this place was a center of religious mystical pilgrimage, where Inca priests came before the winter solstice.


Among its enclosures, the incredible channels stand out, which until now have irrigated various agricultural terraces and ceremonial sources. Near the steps, some stands stand out as steps in the impressive walls of the platforms and in the wall. The whole complex, built with carved stones, amazes for its harmony and gives a feeling of relaxation due to the environment. You can feel the sound of the water, the cool of the wind and the landscape is beautiful.


The main source in Tipón ruins

The main source has 4 slopes. In this source lateral niches can be seen, which may have had a role in a ceremonial ritual. The sources remind us of the Tambomachay sources in Cusco. The fountain has an image that represents Wiracocha Pachayachachic “the designer of the universe”, we can also see him in the Intihuatana.


El Mirador and Cerro Cruzmoqo

From Tipón, parallel to an irrigation canal, travelers can ascend to Cerro Cruzmoqo. Which is a strategic observatory from where you can see the city of Cusco and the Pachatusan “lever of the universe” the highest Apu in the region.


In the highest part, at about 3800 meters, there is a group of petroglyphs called Cruzmoqo. The petroglyphs or engravings on the rocks that are on the different floors, from the platforms to the very top of the hill. According to historians, the petroglyphs must have played an important role in the religious factor, in relation to astronomical observation.


Tourism in Tipón Archaeological Complex

The Tipón Archaeological Park has 240 hectares. It is part of the Qhapac Ñam route (network of Inca roads). It is attractive to the visitor because it is made up of thirteen terraces built in the masonry or Inca style. Among its greatest attractions are its royal precincts, the Intiwatana (altar of the sun), the mirador or Cruzmoqo (summit where there is a cross), the smaller precincts and the wall. According to the chronicler Garcilaso de la Vega, it was built by the Inca Huiracocha as the residence of his father Huaqaj, after he was overthrown for escaping from a Chanca rebellion.


At the architectural level Tipón is considered one of the most important works regarding the irrigation system it presents. Regarding these irrigation works, we can name the presence of platforms that surround the complex (a total of 12) and that are accompanied by canals. About the channels of these platforms we can say that they are characterized by being veneered with stone masonry, some with the presence of covers similar to tubes with a square section. Along with the above, the presence of a Tipón wall is striking, in which some stairways are observed; it is believed that this had responded to defensive purposes that over time were unnecessary due to the accession of the enemies – of the surrounding peoples – to the Inca empire. The presence of the wall, as well as that of a narrow entrance to the complex, would suggest that it was a military complex.


We can also see in Tipón a canal still preserved, along with different enclosures. Regarding the enclosures, these are divided into Royal Enclosures and Minor Enclosures. The first ones are represented by the Royal House, in which the presence of fountains and gutters that are currently functional are observed; the others, smaller, where an important person must also have lived, present at the structural level the use of stone initially and the culmination in adobe.


In order for our traveler to reach this Archaeological Complex, they can take the Cusco-Tipón or Urcos-Tipón route, the first lasting 25 minutes and the second 40. After this trip by bus or private transport, a 45-minute walk will be necessary. from Tipón town to the archaeological complex. The visiting hours are daytime, and the admission price is upon presentation of the General Tourist Ticket, which allows entry into different archaeological sites for a period of 10 days.


How to get from Cusco to Tipón?

To get from Cusco to Tipón you can do it on your own, by taxi or private car or a contracted tour. To access you must take the Cusco Tourist Ticket. The tour lasts around two hours and if you want to skirt the entire area (passing through the Apu Pachatusan) around four hours. The route is well signposted and the hike is wonderful and relaxing. It is recommended to take a coca tea before the walk to feel more relaxing with your chuta bread (you can buy it previously in Oropesa).


If you go in a group, you can take a bus in Urcos and ask the ticket agent to advise you on the detour to Tipón. From Cusco to Tipón is around 25 minutes. If you want to travel by bus, you must take it at Av. De la Cultura (in front of the San Antonio de Abad University) and it costs S /. 5.


These collective buses can be taken at Plaza San Francisco: Bus Leones, or from Avenida de la Cultura, the route from Cusco to Urcos.


On the detour to Tipón you can take a taxi to the Archaeological Park for 4 or 5 soles. You can also do it on foot, if you have a good map or a suitable guide. Attention is from Monday to Sunday from 7am to 6pm.



To enter the Tipón Archaeological Park you must have a complete or partial Tourist Ticket of Cusco but that includes the attractions of the South Valley of Cusco.


A Cusco Tourist Ticket is necessary to enter the ruins. However, you can also buy your ticket at the door.


If you did not have the Tourist Ticket, the entry for adults is S /. 20 soles and students S /. 10 soles. The place has parking, hygienic toilets and guide, in case you will need one. on the other hand, if you are in a private car near the road you will find several dairies that you can visit. Where you can choose your own guinea pig, prepared in the Cusco style (either baked or chacctado).


On site, the tour takes two hours on average. If you want to skirt the Pachatusan mountain, it takes 4 hours.


Attention hours

Monday through Sunday from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.


Gastronomic tourism

For lovers of good food, Tipón is one of the most popular destinations in Cusco. Twelve minutes from the Archaeological Park, there are many typical food restaurants in the area. The main dishes include baked guinea pig and pork rinds. Both dishes are accompanied by mountain potatoes and huacatay pepper. Peru is considered the culinary destination most exciting in the world.


Tipon on horseback

For adventure lovers, Tipón can also offer you an unforgettable experience through horseback riding. From the town of Huasao, a town located 30 minutes from the city of Cusco, the visitor begins to ride through incredible landscapes until ascending to the Tipón Archaeological Park. Then comes the descent to the town of Oropesa. The tour includes lunch.


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