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Ollantaytambo: House of the Dawn; an Underestimated Inca Monument (cont.)
By Brien Foerster

What is intriguing about it, is that it means that a place outside of Cusco, for a certain period of time, but in the vicinity, may very well have been culturally more important than the capital itself, and may in fact predate it.

For example, the Salazars write: ‘continuing along his way, Tunupa (another name for Viracochan, the great teacher who appeared soon after the Flood) arrived at a place which he called Cusco, and there he prophesized the arrival of the Incas. Then he traveled to the Sacred Valley, where he was lovingly received by the lord of Tambo. Here he left his knowledge engraved on his staff…’


Viracochan (Tunupa) face profile. Photo by Brien Foerster

Close up of Viracochan (Tunutpa) profile. Photo by Brien Foerster

Another chronicler, Joan de Santa Cruz Pachacuti (1613) picks up the thread from there; ‘ the staff left by Viracochan (Tunupa) was transmuted to gold at the moment when one of the descendants of the Tambo lord was born. He took the name of Manco Capac and taking up the staff of gold, he directed his steps to the highest parts of a mountainous land where he founded the city of Cusco.’

What Pachacuti is saying here is that the first Inca, Manco Capac, did not come from Tiwanaku, near lake Titicaca, the presumed birthplace of the Inca, but from Ollantaytambo…

In 1542, the earliest Spanish report about the origins of the Inca and Cusco, written by Vaca de Castro, from information he obtained from an Inca Quipucamayoc stated ‘ …that Manco Capac, the first Inca, was the Son of the Sun and came out of a window of a house and was engendered by a ray, the splendour of the sun…then he went to the heights of a mountain where the valley of Cusco can be seen…and later founded the city.’

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