Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Noah's Temple Tower at Sacsayhuaman

“King Noah...fled and ran and got upon the tower which was near the temple. And Gideon pursued after him and was about to get upon the tower to slay the king, and the king cast his eyes around about toward the land of Shemlon, and behold, the army of the Lamanties were within the borders of the land” (Mosiah 19:5-6).

When the Spanish arrived in Peru, they saw a magnificent tower near the temple grounds within the walled city of Sacsayhuaman on the hill overlooking the present city of Cuzco. The view from this tower was significant, not only looking down on the entire valley, but to its extremities and into the passes and entrances that controlled ingress into the ancient city from distance lands.

This cylindrical tower was a building with four superposed floors about 60-feet in height. The successive floors narrowed toward the top, from about twelve feet at the base to about 10 feet at the top, which ended in a conic ceiling. The tower was amazingly worked, so much so it generated the admiration of several chroniclers, who mentioned it at great length, many claiming it was a watch tower because of its view of the entire valley and its many entrances.

The Spaniards destroyed it, in spite of the protests from both contemporary chroniclers Cieza and Inca Garcilaso. Not only was this tower of an exceptional design, it also had a great historic value during the conquest period as Sacsayhuaman was the place where the strongest indigenous resistance against the Spanish conquerors occurred, and where Manco Inca, Titu Cusi Huallpa (also called Cahuide), jumped from its highest part in order to avoid being captured by his enemies.

In Nephite times, it was the tower upon which Noah tried to escape from Gideon, and from where he viewed the approaching Lamanite army. All that is left is the magnificent foundation as shown in the image above.


  1. I have really enjoyed this information. I had a friend refer me to your site because he has your book. Is there more information in the book about this tower?

  2. Yes, several pages and pictures show the location of the tower and its purpose. In Mosiah, king Noah's tower is described as being next to the Temple, and at Sacsayhuaman overlooking Cuzco, the tower base shown in the earlier post is located next to the Temple and is a perfect "watchtower" to see an enemy approaching into the valley below.

  3. I have been to Cuzco and the temple site at Sacsayhuaman. It is interesting that the tour guides explain these circles as the eye of the jaguar which never made much sense to me. I find your interpretation of it most interesting and certainly reasonable, especially in light of the early conquerors writing about seeing two towers on this hill, and one of them most prominent.

  4. Finally, a direct correlation to the Book of Mormon--something I have not found from those people who tout Central America as the landing site for Lehi