Cuzco Neighborhoods, Travel

Cuzco and the Group of Seven

Siete Culebras Street (Photo: Chak'a)

Seven colors of the rainbow are reflected in the seven bands of the flag of Cuzco. There are seven streets with the name of seven, siete in Spanish: Siete Cuartones, Siete Ventanas, Siete Angelitos, Siete Culebras, Siete Diablitos, Siete Borreguitos y Siete Mascarrones. And there are seven metaphysics mencioned by the historian Armanda Valenzuela Lovón in his book the “Rutas Turísticas del Cuzco” (The Tourist Routes of Cuzco).

These include the following.

  1. Illa Teqsi Wiraqocha who is the creator god of the universe.
  2. The Chakana which represents in the Andean world the constellation of the Southern Cross. In the southern hemisphere this grouping of stars guides mariners and navigators.
  3. Apu Inti who is the sun and brings life and generative force to the earth.
  4. Mama Killa who is the mother moon and provides romance all the while giving beauty to nights.
  5. The Apus which are spirits sent by Illa Teqsi Wiraqocha to do good for people. They are represented in the hills and mountains.
  6. Pachakamaq who is the creator of energy and fertility en the mother earth.
  7. Pachamama who is the mother earth, from whom is born men, animals, and plants. When we die we return to them.

¿Does everything have to do with everything else?

Thanks to the book that Don Angel Carreño published in the fifties, as well as other contributions, we can answer some questions we might have about the mysteries of the original names of Cuzco’s streets.

  1. Siete Cuartones. It is said that when Don Diego de Vargas y Carbajal ordered the construction of a bridge of stones and lime on the side of the Huatanay River and to the side of the “Window of Seven Petitions” they stretched seven lengths of stone in the form of large boxes. From these structures the street took its name.
  2. Siete Angelitos. Blas de Bobadilla had his second homes on this street was who ordered that seven figures of little angels be painted on its eves.

    Siete Angelitos Street (Photo: Chask'a)
    Siete Angelitos Street (Photo: Chask’a)
  3. Siete Culebras. The small street Amaru Qhata took its name because of the fourteen snakes carved in relief on the stone wall of the “House of Knowledge” the Yachaywasi, or school of Inca times. Though there were fourteen serpents, there were seven on one side and seven on the other. Hence the name.
  4. Siete Borreguitos. At the end of the Pumaq Kurkun Street, by the stream Choque Chaka an unpaved trail up hill served for people to go down and wash clothes in the river as well as wash baskets. Behind them followed the sheep they kept.
  5. Siete Ventanas. They say that on this small street that crosses the Cuesta del Alabado and the small plaza Washkaq K’uchun there was a House of Studies that belonged to the Convent of San Agustín which was destroyed at some point. This house of studies had four large window and three small ones. From the number of windows the street takes its name.

    Siete Ventanas Street (Photo: Chask'a)
    Siete Ventanas Street (Photo: Chask’a)
  6. Siete Mascarrones. On this street which runs from the Almudena Street and the Parish of Santiago lived one of the Spanish founders. His last name was Mascareñas. Don Mascareñas
  7. and his six children forged convex bronze forms with caryatids called “carones”. They were designed for the church doors along with other pieces that held iron along with large and small and small bells for doors that opened onto streets.The Mascareñas’ clients said that this was the street, as a result, of the seven Mascareñas. In the passage of time and through the transmission from generation to generation the name became “Siete Mascarones” or “seven big masks”.
  8. Siete Diablitos. The name means seven little devils, also called the street of temptations. According to legend on this narrow street away from other places, lovers would find themselves tempted by the devil and thus its name.

    Siete Diablitos Street (Photo: Chask'a)
    Siete Diablitos Street (Photo: Chask’a)

Sheep, serpents, angels and devils, large masks, big rooms, and windows. Seven street, seven stories and a Kabalistic number that is common in a magical city.

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