Incallajta: the hidden city of Incas

Vanesa Zegada | Live the World

November 23, 2022

It does not matter if you visit Bolivia for a whole year or just one day, but I bet that you would not leave the country without seeing an Inca city called Incallajta. Not necessarily because it is part of your route, but because it is in every 50-boliviano bill in the country. And the reason why it occupies that special place is because it is a hidden treasure of Bolivia. Yet, it is not part of the itinerary of most travelers. Because most of them do not even know it exists! That is why, today, I am excited to reveal this place to you. Let’s find out about Incallajta, the hidden city of Incas.

When I call Incallajta a hidden city, I mean it. It is located inside an underexplored area called Pocona, hours away from any big city with no other civilization around besides a tiny colonial town called Pocona. But the remoteness of this area is actually a lucky fact. You see, thanks to its isolation, the Inca remains were not destroyed to build new Spanish cities on top. And after many years untouched by men, these Inca remains just had to survive the pass of time.

But, let me tell you a secret. Even if, for now, you can only visit Incallajta, the whole area is filled with Inca remains. So far, eighteen Inca sites have been found in the area, and there is still much to explore.

Incallajta is a city protected by walls and, as every Inca city, molded by terraces. It just takes a walk through this city and a knowledgeable guide to discover how Incas used to melt silver, spin wool, measure time, store grains, or even make sacrifices.

But two buildings of Incallajta especially catch the attention. The first one is the only two-floor Inca building left in the entire country, as far as we know. The second one is called Kallanka, and it is the largest building of Incallajta. It was a public place where Incas used to celebrate their most important events.

© Javier Revuelta

Next to Incallajta is La Pajcha, a beautiful waterfall with water falling from 40 meters above. The traditional sayings state that these waters were a source of fertility and were reserved for women of the Inca elite, called ñustas.

© Javier Revuelta

If you are curious about how life looked like in the Bolivian valleys, you can be one of the rare foreigners who discover this underexplored area. Over there, Incallajta, the hidden city of Incas, awaits, surrounded by beautiful nature.

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