[Quechua,=cradle of gold], Inca
site in Peru, about 95 mi (155 km) W of Cuzco. Lying at 9,950 ft (3,030 m), in the spurs of the Salkantay mountain range above the Apurímac River, it is similar in style and function to the better-known Machu Picchu
, some 30 mi (50 km) to the east. It was built by Topa Inca, or Tupac Yupanqui (reigned 1471–93), the son of Pachacuti Yupanqui, who built Machu Picchu, and by his son Huayna Capac (reigned 1493–1525). The 4,450 acre (1,800 ha) site includes large terraces for agriculture, a small rectangular temple and other government buildings, living quarters for priests and nobility around the central square, and clusters of smaller buildings for other residents. The flattened hilltop of Sunch'u Pata above the plaza was used for religious ceremonies.
The Spaniard Juan Arias Díaz was the first European to visit the site, in 1710. Other explorers rediscovered and mapped the site, but it was not until Hiram Bingham, the discoverer of Machu Picchu, visited in 1909, that Choquequirao gained wider attention. Excavations at the site were begun in the 1970s, and restoration started in 1993.
The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.
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