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The large plaza area, capable of holding thousands of people, is well designed for ceremonial activities.
Sections were first built by the Killke culture about 1100; they had occupied the area since 900.
According to Inca oral history, Tupac Inca "remembered that his father Pachacuti had called city of Cuzco the lion city.
He said that the tail was where the two rivers unite which flow through it, that the body was the great square and the houses round it, and that the head was wanting." The Inca decided the "best head would be to make a fortress on a high plateau to the north of the city." But archeologists have found that Sacsayhuamán was originally built by the preceding Killke culture.
They display a precision of fitting that is unmatched in the Americas.
The stones are so closely spaced that a single piece of paper will not fit between many of the stones.
This culture built structures and occupied the site for hundreds of years before the Inca, between 9 AD.