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Inka Uyu – The Inca’s ‘mushroom’ stones which may have stood within a temple of fertility

Tijana Radeska
Inka Uyu

Inca Uyu is an archaeological site in the Titicaca Basin, in the village of Chucuito, Peru. It is a place of 86 carved stones in the shape of five-foot (1,52 meters) mushrooms.

It’s not a very popular tourist site, yet it is one of the most interesting ones around Lake Titicaca. The structures are walled within a rectangular ruin which is next to the church of Santo Domingo. The Hispanicized spellings “Inca Uyo” or “Inca Uyu” are derived from “Inka Uyu,” as the structures are called in the Aymara language, and mean “virile member of the Inca.”

Inka Uyu and the church of Santo Domingo

Inka Uyu and the church of Santo Domingo

 

Inka Uyu stones in the village of Chucuito, Peru

Inka Uyu stones in the village of Chucuito, Peru

 

The walled stones in front of the church of Santo Domingo

The walled stones in front of the church of Santo Domingo

Inka Uyu

Inka Uyu

 

Inka Uyu stones in the village of Chucuito, Peru

Inka Uyu stones in the village of Chucuito, Peru

The stones protrude from the earth and are erected towards the sky. According to the archaeological studies, it is determined that the carved stones are ancient and created from local quarries. The stones were first excavated in 1950, by the archaeologists Marion and Harry Tschopik who specialized in Peru. They stated that the structures were built in the “Inca style.”

There is also a belief that the ancient site has been disrupted as it is suggested that the stones have been moved into rows, standing upright, something which is not described in the excavation notes. In the 1960’s, the site was excavated again by Orompelio Vidal who was working on the plaza that surrounds the stones.

Inka Uyu stones in the village of Chucuito, Peru

Inka Uyu stones in the village of Chucuito, Peru

Inka Uyu

Inka Uyu

Apparently, he found and replaced the upper row of the structures at the site.

Because of the phallic shape of the stones, it is believed that the site was an ancient fertility temple, with some attributing their mushroom shape to penises. It is said that they are raising from Pachamama (the Inca mother earth goddess) and are pointing towards the sky, or towards the Inca sun god – Inti, however, ultimately, the original purpose of the site is formally unknown.

Inka Uyu

Inka Uyu

 

The village of Chucuito

The village of Chucuito

 

The main plaza in the village of Chucuito

The main plaza in the village of Chucuito

 

Mirador in the village of Chucuito

Mirador in the village of Chucuito

 

Lake Titicaca, Chucuito

Lake Titicaca, Chucuito

It is believed that the stones have a special power and that many women have been cured of their infertility on the site. The National Institute of Culture has declared Inka Uyu as a “National Heritage of the Nation” (Patrimonio Cultural de la Nación ).

Read another story from us: Gran Pajatén: Fragile archaeological site in Peru is forbidden for tourists

The site is enjoyable to visit, as is the pleasant and welcoming village of Chucuito when arriving in Puno or while on route to Bolivia.