My Secret Spot in Cusco
My Secret Spot in Cusco.
How many articles in travel books have you read on the “Top 10 sites” in Cusco, while you were preparing your trip for your Spanish immersion course in Peru? Most of them feature a list of the most famous and well known ruins, churches or museums that “you should not miss!”. But have you heard of this secret spot?
Although most ruins require the “Boleto Turistico or Visitors Ticket” to enter, this site is free and is also close to the city center of Cusco! The Templo de la Luna (Temple of the moon) is about 60 minutes walking distance from the Plaza de Armas and yet seems to be well hidden. If you feel like doing a bit of exercise and want to enjoy a beautiful day in the Cusco countryside, you should take a look at this ancient temple!
Beginning from the Plaza de Armas, it is easiest to take the street Calle Triunfo (next to the Cathedral of Cusco) up to Plaza San Blas. Crossing the street of Tandapata, you keep on going up through the charming little alleys of the district San Blas. Although the ascent is substantial, the view of Cusco lying in the valley among the Andean mountains is a sufficient reward. Once you arrive at a little fountain, you will have to switch to the more rural path and keep on going up the stairs. After a while you will reach a green plateau where the Temple is located.
The mysterious Templo de la Luna or Temple of the Moon has a rocky entrance and is said to symbolize fertility. Entering the cave-like Templo by sunlight, rays will enlighten it through a long crack in the ceiling. This is supposed to have represented the female parts, the crack symbolizing the vagina.
Supposedly, in former times, the entire cave was covered with gold which made the whole temple shine on a full moon. In fact, couples having trouble having children are said to come to this site with the hope of conceiving after having visited the temple.
If you look closer at the forms and structure in this ruin, you can even spot the holy Incan trilogy: a snake, puma and condor carved into stone.
Maybe you will even discover a new element? If you feel like escaping the city life – or student life – and getting some fresh air while diving into ancient Incan culture, you should get your hiking shoes on and make your way to this lesser-known, but nonetheless impressive site above Cusco.
Cusco, March 2016, Meike Zimmerman