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The Inca Empire was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America and its administrative, political and military center was located in Cusco, Peru, where many remnants of the once mighty empire can still be found. The Incas were highly regarded for their architecture and masonry and many of their structures have withstood the test of time, even today.

Inca architecture is widely known for its fine masonry, which features precisely cut and shaped stones that fit together without mortar. The best known example can be seen above, the famous “Stone of the 12 angles” located on Hatun Rumiyoc street very close to the Plaza de Armas in Cusco Peru, is one of the amazing places in Cusco that you must visit.

While you are traveling to Peru you may need to keep communication or a translation app. That’s why you may need to use one of our mobile phone plans for tourists to have a  tourist sim card. In order to make a nice trip here in PeruSIM. Here we show you what is the 12 corners stone from Cusco.

Stone of the 12 angles in Cusco Peru

Although it is not the stone carved in Inca with the most sides or angles (there is a stone with 13 angles on the opposite side of the building, some say there is a stone with 14 angles, and in other places in the region there are stones with up to 44 angles), but it is the stone that has its sides more clearly defined and placed together with such perfection. It is as famous for this perfection as its still extraordinary number of angles, becoming a symbol of the skill of Inca stonemasons and architects.

The stone of the 12 angles in Cusco Peru has also become a local symbol and an object of pride for Cusqueños and for Peru in general, perhaps what attracted two tourists from Chile (a neighbor that successfully invaded Peru and Bolivia for its mineral wealth) to deface it.

Now he has someone to keep an eye on permanently, as well as dozens of local youths who point him out for a small tip.

History of the Stone of the 12 Angles

The origins of the magnificent ruins of a building we call Hatunrumiyoc are lost in time. Built with enormous polygonal stones, cut and fitted with exceptional precision, it is one of the most impressive structures of ancient Cusco. Its imposing walls hide a series of surprises, from the famous 12-angled stone to the shapes of local animals integrated into the structure itself.

The early history of Cusco is unclear. When the Spanish conquered the Inca Empire in 1532, it had only existed for about 100 years. It was only when, in 1438, Pachacutec became Sapa Inca, that the small city-state of Cusco began to be transformed into an empire by its new expansionist leader of warlords.

This period of 100 years or so from the conquest of the first strong regional rival to the Andean empire that the Spanish encountered seems to be well documented. After the conquest, Spanish chroniclers were able to write the histories of the achievements of Pachacutec (1438-1471), Tupac Inca Yupanqui (1471-1493), Huayna Capac (1493-1527), and Huascar (1527-1532) and his civil war with half-brother Atahualpa (1532-1533) in detail. The stories were common knowledge. But…

It was before this time period when things become more confusing. Accounts differed about the era of the city’s status, about who did what and when. In fact, it is thought that the imperial-era Incas simply invented large amounts of their early history and the stories surrounding their early leaders, for political reasons, to exaggerate their greatness to conquered tribes and for their own benefit, to “honor” their less warlike predecessors. The Sapa Incas (kings) who were content to rule over their valley or extend their control over one or two villages were exaggerated to be “great expanders of the empire”.

History of Hatunrumiyoc Street and the stone of the 12 angles.

This building, which is located on the street that tourists usually take to the modern district of San Blas and its bars, is from this time in the history of the Incas. Its real name is that no one knows it. The street is called Hatun Rumiyoc, a name given to it in much more recent times which in Quechua means big stone, supposedly referring to the famous stone of the 12 angles in Cusco Peru that is located on the wall halfway down the street.

This Inca building, which contains this stone, bears the name of the street named after the stone. If the people of Cusco at the time of the conquest knew how the building was called, or who built it for sure, unfortunately they did not say or no Spanish chronicler asked them.

So, according to common opinion, it is said that the building was the palace of the Inca Roca, the sixth Sapa Inca who ruled around 1350. But it is also said that the Qoraqora, another building that stands in the plaza, is his palace. Perhaps both were, or perhaps the Hatunrumiyoc was Sinchi Roca’s palace 100 to 150 years earlier.

There is no way to be sure who built it and when, and like the Incas, we have begun to invent the story of the 12-angled stone for our own purposes. Perhaps, contradicting the modern inventions of those academics who try to make sense of these things today, one of the more fabulous local tales is true. One says that Inca Roca only rebuilt the structure, which had been in ruins for an unknown period of time, from existing bricks he found scattered about. Who knows?

What we do know about Hatunrumiyoc is that it is exquisitely built, achieving the same perfection of many other Inca structures. There were two main styles of construction used in Inca architecture, rectangular aligned bricks and complex polygonal bricks similar to the jigsaw puzzles used there and at Sacsayhuaman. 

Although the polygonal brick walls look more complex, perhaps they were easier to carve and lay, mostly in the natural form in which they were found? (The Incas did not quarry stone, they collected from landslides) Regardless, it is this style of construction that allowed the Inca architects to get away with some really cool tricks.

Finally, we know that you have to keep communication with your relatives and friends, that you need to be able to orient yourself in new cities, that you might need help with translation and that you might need to search for restaurants or hotels. That’s why with PeruSIM you can buy a SIM card including the data plan of your need without having to worry about high roaming costs.