Cusco: An Observation Regarding Science and Belief

Science and belief has always been a touchy subject. Those who are religious based believe in gods and miracles, while those who are science based search for realistic, tangible explanations. While in Cusco, the Chesapeake Semester visited Saqsaywaman, a stone structure created by the Incans. The stones (80% limestone) came from a quarry that was about 6 miles away from the actual site. Most stones were taller than us. JJ, our tour guide, explained that no one knows how this site was created. The answer from people who have arrived at Saqsaywaman was that ‘it was already here and done before us.’ The rocks towards the top of the structure were approximately 15 tons, while the rocks towards the bottom of the structure were approximately 100-150 tons. There are ideas that the Incas dragged the rocks by ropes somehow, as there were markings on some of the rocks, but no one can positively say how this structure was built.

Those who live in the city of Cusco, accept what is. They are fully aware that there must be an explanation of how these incredible sites were made, yet resort to believing in their ancestors. Same with the Spaniards who came to Cusco. They believed that where the Incans built their most sacred temples is where the gods and powers were most likely to be. So, the Spaniards built their Cathedrals on top of the grounds where the Incans had their temples. When we went to visit the Cathedral, it was the most beautifully decorated religious monument I have ever seen. Between the paintings, intricate tapestries, and painted plaster that created the walls, there was so much to take in.

There is such a blurred line between science and belief. With their being little middle ground, most people are extremists on either the science side or belief side. The Incans believed in their gods, and the Spaniards believed in their own. Yet, without knowing how the ancestors of this spiritual place created their temples, the modern world is forced to resort into calling Saqsaywaman a wonder of the world.


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