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Llactapata (also spelled Llaqtapata) is a combination of two Quechua words. Hiram Bingham, discoverer of Machu Picchu and many other Incan sites, states that Llacta Pata is a descriptive term; "llacta" means "town" and "pata" means "a height". Thus, more than one site has been, and is, referred to by this name.

Hiram Bingham first discovered Llactapata in 1912. "We found evidence that some Inca chieftain had built his home here and had included in the plan ten or a dozen buildings."

Bingham locates the site "on top of a ridge between the valleys of the Aobamba and the Salcantay, about 5,000 feet above the estate of Huaquina." "Here we discovered a number of ruins and two or three modern huts. The Indians said that the place was called Llacta Pata."

Bingham did not investigate the ruins thoroughly, however, and they were not studied again for another 70 years.

A mid-2003 study of the site was conducted by Thomson and Ziegler and concluded that Llactapata's location along the Inca trail suggests that it was an important rest stop and roadside shrine on the journey to Machu Picchu. The complex is located some four kilometers west of Machu Picchu high on a ridge between the Aobamba and Santa Teresa drainages. This and subsequent investigations revealed an extensive complex of structures and features related to and connected with Machu Picchu by a continuation of the Inca Trail leading onward into the Vilcabamba. Llactapata may have been a member of the network of interrelated administrative and ceremonial sites which supported the regional center at Machu Picchu. It probably played an important astronomical function during the solstices and equinoxes.

Bingham locates another site "at Qquente, and near the mouth of the Pampaccahuana river, on top of a series of terraces". His associate Mr. Herman Tucker reported that the name of the town was Patallacta containing about one hundred houses." Above it were several important sites including Huayllabamba. This site is located 1.5 km from the start of the "Classic Inca Trail" which begins at Km 88.

This site housed a large number of occupants, including travelers and soldiers who manned the nearby "hill fort" of Willkaraqay. A shrine with rounded walls, known as Pulpituyoc, had religious and ceremonial functions.

Llactapata was burned by Manco Inca Yupanqui, who destroyed a number of settlements along the Inca trail during his retreat from Cusco in 1536 to discourage Spanish pursuit. In part due to these efforts, the Spanish never discovered the Inca trail or any of its settlements.

A third site consisting of carved stone and buildings, Q'enqo, above Cuzco, may have been the death house of Pachakuti, called Chinchaysuyu or Patallacta.

The pronunciation of Llaqtapata is yakta-pahta.

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This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article Llactapata

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