Mollepata in Cusco Peru
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Mollepata in Cusco Peru

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Mollepata in Cusco Peru

The Peruvian District of Mollepata in Cusco Perú is one of the 9 districts of the Anta Province, located in the Department of Cusco, under the administration of the Cuzco regional government.


90 kilometers from the City of Cusco and one hour from Yucay is Mollepata in Cusco Perú, one of the districts of the Anta province. Before arriving at this destination, the towns of Anta, Ancahuasi and Limatambo are toured, territory where the Incas had to fight against the fierce Chancas who were fighting for the supreme power but who, finally, were defeated at the hands of who would forge the fate of the Empire. Inca: Pachacuteq.


Mollepata in Cusco Perú is a decent sized Peruvian mountain town. A few hours by car from Cusco, it is the starting point for backpackers who take the path to Salkantay Mountain.


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Etymology of Mollepata Peru

The word "Mollepata" comes from two Quechua voices: "molle", name of a tree, and "pata" means eminence, height. Etymologically, Mollepata means, predominantly populated part of molles, Molle that comes to make the name of a tree with a twisted and cracked stem, small and evergreen leaves, greenish flowers and hanging clusters of reddish fruits, this tree was abundant in the place.


Location of Mollepata in Peru

Mollepata is located in the western part of the Anta province.


The territorial extension of the Mollepata district is 822.65 km2, stretching from the white river to Acobamba in the west; from the Salkantay, Nevado Humantay and Kishuar mountains in the north, to the Apurímac river in the south.


Population of Mollepata in Anta Cusco

Mollepata in Cusco Perú has a total population of 3,976 inhabitants.


Altitude of Mollepata in Peru

The Capital of Mollepata in Cusco Perú is 2 803 meters above sea level.


Climate of Mollepata in Anta Cusco

The climate of Mollepata in Cusco is varied, from the most frigid in the snow-capped mountains, temperate in the central part and warm on the banks of the Apurímac River.


Communication routes of Mollepata in Peru

Mollepata has a branch that emerges from the Cusco - Lima highway and this highway was built by Marcahuasi landowner David Samanez Ocampo, with the support of peasant labor and without any subsidy from the State. Currently the access to the road is paved.


Mollepata Geography

  • Mollepata area: 35,600 hectares / 356.00 km²
  • Geographical coordinates:

Distance between Mollepata and other cities

  • Limatambo: 9.7 km
  • Curahuasi: 18.6 km
  • Ancahuasi 25.3 km
  • Zurite: 30 km
  • San Pedro de Cachora: 30.9 km
  • Cotabambas: 32.4 km
  • Chinchaypujio: 34.6 km
  • Huarocondo: 36.2 km
  • Coyllurqui: 38 km
  • Machu Picchu: 39.5 km
  • Ollantaytambo: 39.9 km
  • Anta: 41.2 km
  • Santa Teresa: 42.7 km

Economic Activities of Mollepata in Peru

The main economic activity of the Mollepata district is: agriculture, livestock and tourism. Due to the variety of the climate, it has products that correspond to the three climates such as sugar cane, a wide variety of cereals, fruit trees, legumes and vegetables.


Historical Review of Mollepata in Anta Cusco

The town has Inca origin, there is a considerable presence of archaeological monumental remains. Also there are terraces and paths in various places. According to the opinion of many historians, Mollepata in the time of the Incas was a properly organized place, in whose town a system of administration and control was installed for the settlers who had to work on the various ecological floors, call them the puna, yunga, etc.


Since the invasion of the Spanish, the colony (16th, 17th and 18th centuries) in Mollepata, there have been well-defined radical social changes. At the forefront of these social classes were the Spanish and their descendants who became the new owners of the lands. The indigenous people were marginalized and cornered in poverty but always striving to get ahead.

In the republican era, feudalism persisted, consisting of making the peasant work, in exchange for the shelter given to him on the haciendas. This lasted until the enactment of the Agrarian Reform law (1968-1970).


The Marcahuasi hacienda, owned by David Samanez Ocampo, this hacienda is located south of the town of Mollepata, at the foot of the road or floatable trail, this hacienda played an important role within the local and departmental economy, because its facilities existed large crops of sugar cane, which resulted in the manufacture of brandy on a large scale, this forced the installation of large mills and a large distillery plant.


Likewise, sugar and chancaca were manufactured in industrial quantities, the cultivation of orange and lemon trees was introduced in the area, with positive results, and in terms of livestock, it brought improved heads of cattle, with which quality livestock was encouraged.


Mollepata, like many places in Peru, felt convulsed by the Agrarian Reform launched by the Government of General Juan Velasco Alvarado. The community members and peasants invaded the local haciendas and formed the cooperatives that later failed and had to parcel out the haciendas' lands.


Politically, Mollepata since colonial times, was a dependent territory of the destinations of the Limatambo District, for having been considered as one of the most annexes. The Mollepatins did not like this situation, because it put them in a situation of submission and dependency; their most expensive desire was to be free and sovereign in their determinations, that is why they fought for their detritalization.

After 10 years, 5 months and 12 days of titanic administration, Law No. 6623 was finally given, drawn up in Congress and promulgated by the Executive on April 29, 1929, declaring Mollepata as a District of the Anta Province.


Today territorially it includes the partialities of: Abuela, Accobamba, Ayrancca, Huayrurani, Ccotomarca, Mallau, Bellavista, Tantay, Antabamba, Huamanpata, Auquiorcco, La Estrella, Marcahuasi, Huaychi, Tillca, Parobamba, Marcahuaylla, Cisal and Soray.


Customs and traditions

  1. Traditional Festival Señor Manuel Exaltación de la Santa Cruz: This festival is characterized by its religiosity, giving priority to the sentiment and respect expressed with the homage that is paid. Since September 13, all the residents wear their best party costumes. The Lord of Exaltation is a beautiful sculpture carved in wood - according to what we are told, of orange tree -, it has about 1.20 mt. tall, is the patron of the district. Tradition has it that the King of Spain, Carlos I, in the mid-16th century, sent three sculptures of Christ destined for Cusco; the drawers made their penultimate rest already to reach their destination (Cusco) in the town of Mollepata. The priest of Mollepata was interested in retaining one of the Christs in his town. Surreptitiously at night, making sure not to be warned, he opened one of the three boxes and placed, next to the sculpture, many stones; the next day when the carriers got ready to lift the box to continue the trip, they could not lift it, it was very heavy; immediately the town priest, blamed the fact on a miracle and said "look, as the lord wishes to stay in Mollepata" while preventing; people were admired for the "miracle" and the entourage and bearers had to continue to Cusco with only two images, one is the Lord of Inquillpata, and the other, the Christ who is venerated in the cathedral of Cusco, and who since 1650 He came to be called Lord of Tremors.
  2. Feast of the Holy Cross of Tillca: for many years, worship has been taking place on May 2, 3 and 4 of each year. The whole town makes a pilgrimage to the top of Cerro Tillca.
  3. Bullfight and colt training.
  4. Fight and start of roosters.


Tourism in Mollepata Cusco

The Mollepata district is located in the Anta province, in the Cusco region. The tourist promotion of this district is not yet very high, however, visits to it have been increasing as a result of trekking routes enabled in the region.


Mollepata is a tourist destination that travelers can choose, especially if they have an interest in rural tourism, long walks, and sightings of beautiful natural settings, but also if they want to discover some of the remains that pre-Hispanic cultures left for immortalize. Mollepata is the starting point of the Salkantay Trek.


The archaeological resource that the traveler can find on his visit to Mollepata, is known by the name of Choquequirao. Choquequirao would have been during the Inca period, an important citadel and fortress, which stood out for having been the last point of resistance of the Incas that populated Vilcabamba.


Regarding adventure tourism, the Mollepata district has been positioned, in recent years, as the starting point of different trekking routes that lead to Salkantay Trek and Machu Picchu. The Salkantay Trek from Mollepata can take between 4 and 11 days and allow you to get to know different tourist resources in the Cusco region.


If you want to know this beautiful and peaceful district, especially during its main celebrations, the traveler is recommended to go to it on dates such as September 14, when the town pays homage to the Lord of Exaltation in the midst of both liturgical events as traditional.


The main tourist attractions in Mollepata Cusco are:


Choqe Churku or Choquechurco.

The name Choquechurco probably comes from the words Aymara CHOQUE, which means Gold and CHURCO, which in Quechua term means to place, locate, pigeonhole, deposit, guide, use, locate, etc. Consequently Etymologically speaking CHOQUECHURCO was the place "where the gold was placed".


It is located in the buffer zone of the archaeological site of Machu Picchu, in the sector called Markahuaylla, in the upper part known as Huancanapata about 10 km, from the town of Mollepata at 3,200 masl. in a space covered by totally intricate vegetation that has been affected by the finely carved walls and walls over time.


Choquechurco has two embankments, which were possibly places for ceremonial acts; A few meters away, Inca walls can be seen almost buckling under the pressure of the native trees.


Its development would have been registered in the late horizon, during the governments of the Inca Pachacuteq, Tupac Yupanqui or Huayna Capac. It is characterized by the style of polished stone, well assembled dry and solid in nature. In shockechurco the details are finely carved limestone, polygonal walls, trapezoidal walls that exceed a meter with 80 cm, the most surprising thing about this enclosure is the presence of a limestone rock of a dimension of about 5 meters in diameter where a frame of 2 meters with 20 cm width and 2 meters with 40 cm height, with some cornices to possibly hold gold and silver plates directed to the Sun God salient, it could be an agricultural calendar or place where signs and provisions were imparted that today they are a mystery.


From that place, the entire landscape of the snow-capped mountains can be viewed with complete amplitude: Ampay, Socllaccassa, Salkantay, Umantay, Limatambo Valley, Sauceda, Abra de Huillki, Pampaconga, Pivil, Chonta and Cotabambas in Apurimac. For these characteristics it was probably one of dominion, position, administration during the Inca empire.


The Church of Mollepata.

The church of Mollepata is modern, built perhaps on an Inca huaca, as was the custom of the Spanish, to replace a native place of worship with a Catholic one. It is located on the western side of the main town square; There, the most venerated image is Señor Manuel de Exaltación de la Santa Cruz, a beautiful sculpture carved in wood.


Tillka or Tilca.

It is the name of a pointed hill with a conical shape, it is located four kilometers west of the town of Mollepata, it was a signal station, an observation point for the surrounding territories, and an astronomical observatory, therefore it was a sacred place, that is huaca. At the top there is a cross and very few traces on the surface, with respect to the incan. On the flank of the hill there are five old platforms, and towards the Choquechurco side, four, all in poor condition.


Markawasi or Marcahuasi.

It is a town, it was very important and a great Inca seat, today it offers several archaeological groups, beautiful Inca walls. What stands out the most is the following:


A beautiful old wall with twelve niches, on which a shed has been built that serves as housing for some peasants, it seems to us that it is the internal face, a back wall, which today deprived of the other walls, remains with the face towards the open field. The building must have been one of the best, perhaps if it was an Inca palace.


The terraces make up a set, they are on the eastern side of Marcahuasi, they have all the virtues of other identical sets built by the Incas, say arrangement, location, height of the walls, good land on the embankments and aqueducts.


The Qoriwayrachina or Corihuayrachina hill is part of Marcahuasi, it is towards the side of the main valley, it is an amazing archaeological repository, with fractional ceramic on the surface (ancient sherds), ruined low walls.


At all times Marcahuasi was an important agricultural center, due to the fertility of its lands and its good climate. Garcilaso de la Vega says that on January 21, 1560, while traveling from Cusco to Lima, and then continuing to Spain, he passed through an estate called “Marcahuaci” nine leagues from Cusco, owned by Pedro López de Cazalla, a native of Llerena. and a neighbor of Cusco, there he found the estate "loaded with beautiful grapes." There it was made for the first grape wine, in what corresponds to the Cusco region.



Choquequirao (from Aymara chuqi, gold, and from Quechua k’iraw, cradle, that is to say: “cradle of gold”), is an Inca city located between the foothills of the snowy Salcantay, in southern Peru. The Choquequirao archaeological remains are made up of buildings and terraces distributed on different levels, from the lowest Sunch'u Pata level to the highest truncated summit, which was leveled and fenced with stones to form a platform with an approximate area of 150 square meter.


Choquequirao (sometimes also referred to as Choqequirau or Choquekiraw) is known as the "sacred sister" of Machu Picchu for its structural and architectural resemblance to it. Recently, being partially excavated, it has sparked the interest of the Peruvian government to further recover the complex and make it a more accessible alternative for tourists interested in learning more about Inca culture.


Mollepata was one of the entrance doors to the Vilcabamba región, the administrative, political, social and economic nucleus of the Inca Trail. Thus, with regard to its urban conception, the symbolic patterns of the imperial capital itself were followed, that is, the places of worship of the Sun, the earth, the ancestors, the water and other divinities. In addition, there were also royal residences, houses of administrators and artisans, large dormitory buildings also called kallancas, agricultural platforms of the Inca and the town, and warehouses. In this Mollepata Inca Trail, we find a ceremonial area that has about 700 meters, with a gap between the main square and the highest parts of up to 65 meters.


It was from this building that the Incas of the Manco dynasty were able to resist the Spanish invasion for about 36 years, in fact, it was never possible to expel them from this city that only recently has gained its identity from the tangled jungles of Peru.


To get to this Mollepata Inca Trail you must follow the Salkantay Trek.


The star

It is a farm located to the southwest, below and very close to the town of Mollepata; Going up by car along the road that leads to Mollepata, La Estrella is on the left side and in the last sections of the road. The estate has a house-hacienda with an unbeatable location, like a pulpit hanging over the area, it is an exceptional viewpoint; the building is a beautiful architectural complex, with gardens, orchards, all expresses elegance and lordship, it was the residence of don David Samanez Ocampo.


Plains of Soraypampa in Mollepata

Soraypampa is to the north of Mollepata, at 3950 masl. During the Inca period it was a ceremonial space for the Huaca Salkantay. Today the snow-capped mountains of Umantay and Salkantay are observed in the landscape environment of Soraypampa in Mollepata. Due to the location of Soraypampa in Mollepata, it is an appropriate camping area, used by groups of tourists who make the route to Santa Teresa, Choquequirao and Machu Picchu.


The moonstone

Another must-see is the Quillarumiyoc archaeological complex, located 20 minutes from Mollepata and whose meaning, of popular origin, is founded on the figure carved in a rock of approximately seven meters: "The stone of the moon" or " The moon carved in the stone ”. When you arrive at the complex, the first thing you notice is body agitation: Quillarumiyoc is at 3,400 meters above sea level. Still, the tour of the place is impressive.


Although there is still little historical evidence of the origin of this complex, it is known that Quillarumiyoc was a very important religious ceremonial center in the Pampa de Anta, on the way to Chinchaysuyo, where Andean priests worshiped their gods, according to observation, to the study and analysis of the stars. "This is part of the tourist circuit and the area itself has a mystical interpretation because it has a set of carved rocks, caves, ceremonial places like the Usno, a circular platform that served to see the movement of the stars," says Patrick Hermoza, local tourist guide, whose agency has developed a mystical tourism circuit given the ceremonial importance of Quillarumiyoc.


The complex also includes cultivation and irrigation system areas, which makes this archaeological zone a technological, artistic and religious manifestation of ancestral cultures that expressed their worldview in every aspect of their existence.


How to get from Cusco to Mollepata?


How to get from Cusco to Mollepata in your own vehicle

From Cusco to Mollepata it is 88 kilometers by bus. In this detour, you leave the main road and ascend for 10.5 kilometers along a route in good condition. From Cusco to Mollepata by bus takes an hour and 45 minutes approximately.


How to get from Cusco to Mollepata by bus

To get from Cusco to Mollepata by bus there are at least four options:


Take a bus to Curahuasi (large and comfortable bus) at the Cuzco land terminal, located on Av. Vía de Evitamiento No. 429. Get off in Limatambo and take a bus to Mollepata. It will be necessary to pay the entire passage to Curahuasi.


Take a combi to Limatambo, and from there take a bus to Mollepata. These combis are taken at the Arcopata street terminal, shortly before the corner with Apurimac Avenue.

Contract a private service from Cuzco, in the order of 90 soles


Coordinate only transport with any of the many tourism companies that take tourists in a guided way to Salkantay. Between the end of May and September, several companies leave every day, so it is possible to request an available space and arrange a price. Of course, this option is only plausible if it is a small group.


How to get from Mollepata to Soraypampa

If you arrive early at the Plaza de Mollepata (before 9:30 or 10 AM), it is highly likely that you can coordinate transportation from Mollepata to Soraypampa with some of the tourist companies that carry clients. In particular, small trucks carry food and equipment, so the drivers themselves offer a space next to the load to get extra money. The author of this review was charged ten soles for this service. If you want to travel more comfortably from Mollepata to Soraypampa, you can also try to coordinate transport with the minivans that take tourists, but a) it will cost more, and b) it is more difficult for space to be available.

Consider a little over an hour by truck to Soraypampa. Minivans don't take much less.


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