CHAPTER XII. The Fortress of Uiticos and the House of the Sun

When the viceroy, Toledo, determined to conquer that last stronghold of the Incas where for thirty-five years they had defied the supreme power of Spain, he offered a thousand dollars a year as a pension to the soldier who would capture Tupac Amaru. Captain Garcia earned the pension, but failed to receive it; the "manana habit" was already strong in the days of Philip II. So the doughty captain filed a collection of testimonials with Philip's Royal Council of the Indies. Among these is his own statement of what happened on the campaign against Tupac Amaru. In this he says: "and having arrived at the principal fortress, Guay-napucara ["the young fortress"], which the Incas had fortified, we found it defended by the Prince Philipe Quispetutio, a son of the Inca Titu Cusi, with his captains and soldiers. It is on a high eminence surrounded with rugged crags and jungles, very dangerous to ascend and almost impregnable. Nevertheless, with my aforesaid company of soldiers I went up and gained the fortress, but only with the greatest possible labor and danger. Thus we gained the province of Uilcapampa." The viceroy himself says this important victory was due to Captain Garcia's skill and courage in storming the heights of Guaynapucara, "on Saint John the Baptist's day, in 1572."

The "Hill of Roses" is indeed "a high eminence surrounded with rugged crags." The side of easiest approach is protected by a splendid, long wall, built so carefully as not to leave a single toe-hold for active besiegers. The barracks at Uncapampa could have furnished a contingent to make an attack on that side very dangerous. The hill is steep on all sides, and it would have been extremely easy for a small force to have defended it. It was undoubtedly "almost impregnable." This was the feature Captain Garcia was most likely to remember.

On the very summit of the hill are the ruins of a partly enclosed compound consisting of thirteen or fourteen houses arranged so as to form a rough square, with one large and several small courtyards. The outside dimensions of the compound are about 160 feet by 145 feet. The builders showed the familiar Inca sense of symmetry in arranging the houses, Due to the wanton destruction of many buildings by the natives in their efforts at treasure-hunting, the walls have been so pulled down that it is impossible to get the exact dimensions of the buildings. In only one of them could we be sure that there had been any niches.

Most interesting of all is the structure which caught the attention of Ocampo and remained fixed in his memory. Enough remains of this building to give a good idea of its former grandeur. It was indeed a fit residence for a royal Inca, an exile from Cuzco. It is 245 feet by 43 feet. There were no windows, but it was lighted by thirty doorways, fifteen in front and the same in back. It contained ten large rooms, besides three hallways running from front to rear. The walls were built rather hastily and are not noteworthy, but the principal entrances, namely, those leading to each hall, are particularly well made; not, to be sure, of "marble" as Ocampo said - there is no marble in the province - but of finely cut ashlars of white granite. The lintels of the principal doorways, as well as of the ordinary ones, are also of solid blocks of white granite, the largest being as much as eight feet in length. The doorways are better than any other ruins in Uilcapampa except those of Machu Picchu, thus justifying the mention of them made by Ocampo, who lived near here and had time to become thoroughly familiar with their appearance. Unfortunately, a very small portion of the edifice was still standing. Most of the rear doors had been filled up with ashlars, in order to make a continuous fence. Other walls had been built from the ruins, to keep cattle out of the cultivated pampa. Rosaspata is at an elevation which places it on the borderland between the cold grazing country, with its root crops and sublimated pigweeds, and the temperate zone where maize flourishes.

On the south side of the hilltop, opposite the long palace, is the ruin of a single structure, 78 feet long and 35 feet wide, containing doors on both sides, no niches and no evidence of careful workmanship. It was probably a barracks for a company of soldiers.

The intervening "pampa" might have been the scene of those games of bowls and quoits, which were played by the Spanish refugees who fled from the wrath of Gonzalo Pizarro and found refuge with the Inca Manco. Here may have occurred that fatal game when one of the players lost his temper and killed his royal host.