The Pachacutec Museum Joins Cuzco’s Past and Present
By Walter Coraza Morveli (translated by David Knowlton)
Just ten minutes from the Plaza de Armas, Cuzco’s Main Square, you find one of the important landmarks of the city, the tower museum of Pachacutec. Known as the great emperor who built Cuzco and expanded the Incas’s grasp outside the Huatanay valley, Pachacutec now is honored in a museum that also carries representations of the history of his empire, Tawantinsuyo.
The monument, with a statue of him on top, was built in remembrance of the greatest governor ever of Tawantinsuyo, the Inca Pachacutec. In the heart of the monument is represented his spirit.
Forged in bronze and set on top of a tower made of stone by the sculptor from Cuzco Fausto Ezpinosa Farfán, the monument is 11.5 meters high. Its construction began in 1991 under then mayor Daniel Estrada Perez to form a paradigm of the values personified in Pachachutec, whose given name was Inca Yupanqui. Furthermore this was part of a historical reflection at the approach of the 500th anniversary of the arrival of the invading Spanish in America.
When the Incas ruled, they imagined the city of Cuzco as a Puma. The statue of the Inca Pachacutec points to what was the Puma’s head, Sacsayhuaman.
Furthermore, within the museum one finds a portrayal of the history of Tawantinsuyo. The museum is divided into seven floors. On the first is found the ticket and information office. Here they help make sense of the legends with images and illustrations.
On teh second floor is found the room that portrays the ancestral coming forth from the earth of the first Incas. And, the third floor depicts the Inca’s transformation of the Andean world. The fourth is about the Inca Pachacutec Yupanqui and the consolidation fo the Inca state. The fifth shows the death and continuity, despite his death, of Pachacutec. The sixth floor is entitled “Pachacutec Lives among Us”. Finally, the seventh floor holds a deck for looking out on his city.
The museum shows informative images of history that come from the Royal Commentaries of the INca Garcilaso de la Vega and from Guaman Poma de Ayala.
On the third floor on can sit and watch a video about the different suyos, of quarters, of the empire and an overview of the Incas and their history. In all the levels there are windows with the images of the Empires gods: the sun, the moon, the stars, lightning, the rainbow, the puma’s body, and astrology that take us back to the times when the Incas ruled here.
On the final floor, before arriving at the deck, there are typical personages of Cuzco, children, young people, and grandparents along with windows decorated wih the coca leaf that frame the view of the city of Cuzco.
After the whole journey through the different levels we reach our goal and find the highest part of the monument to Pachacutec. Now we can see the larger than life statue and all the city opening below him from its beginning to its end. We are more or less at the same height as the mountains that surround Cuzco. The monument is huge and you almost can not see the statue’s head as it reaches toward the sky.
Up there we can see how big the city has become. We see more and more buildings rising upward. Right now I am writing where the sculpture begins and right at my head’s level are the feet of Pachacutec and his staff of power. He looks over my head towards Sacsayhuaman.
The museum is open from nine am to six pm, Monday through Sunday.
Entrance to the museum is included in the tourist pass that you can buy at the Municipality of Cuzco or through a travel agent. This pass gives you access to museums and archeological sites.
It has been a beautiful and impressive experience to visit this museum and to have the living importance of Pachacutec placed before us. I learned a lot about the origin and the history of our culture. I invite all of you to enjoy the same experience when you visit the city of Cuzco
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