Excursion to Pisaq and Ollantaytambo

August 25th 2003

Tour from Cusco to Sacred Valley of Inca, to Pisaq including new and ancient town, before heading to Ollantaytambo and its ancient fortress. The Sacred Valley offers beautiful views onto rural Peru, while Pisaq and Ollantaytambo is an interesting mix of archaeology and traditions.

Panorama of Sacred Valley, Peru
The today excursion leaves from Cusco and, crossing the Sacred Valley to Pisaq, ends in Ollantaytambo. Less than one hour after Cusco, we arrive in the Sacred Valley, so called by the Inca because of the fertile soil, and crossed by the Urubamba river.


Inca terraces for agricolture Inca terraces for agricolture
Pisaq ruins are located on the top of a moun-tain, having its sides terraced by the Incas for agricolture purposes. Because its extension, it is belived that Pisaq was an important center.


Terraces was built mainly for agricolture needs, anyway, in several cases, they was used also for gardens, for decorations, or to consolidate the mountain's sides. In the picture, stones are used to create a ladder.


Inca ruins in Pisaq
Photos of Pisaq. The city is divided into suburbs, each of them with a precise function, connected by trails. Some hour is needed to walk from the upper part of the city, to the lower, with some elevation difference to be covered. In the pictures, the upper suburb, close to the entrance.


This site is not only beautiful for its ruins, but also for the majestic scenery all around. This is a WidevieW od about 200 degrees to the nearby mountains and valleys.


Inca ruins in Pisaq
A door on the trail. On the right: a stone is worked to support the ropes used to open and to close the door.


Terraces are many and are often located on very steep sides. They was usually built creating the wall first, and then filling the terrace with fertile soil taken from the valley.


On the left: a view of the valley, on the top: walls are sometime used to consolidate the mountain's sides.


Inca ruins in Pisaq
The Intiwatana is the suburb where the Temple of the Sun is located, and it was also used for astronomic observations, as well as for religious puropses.


Inca ruins in Pisaq Inca ruins in Pisaq
The temple is built with traditional Inca's style, as already discussed in the Cusco's page.


Inca ruins in Pisaq Inca ruins in Pisaq
So, inclinated walls, trapeziodal doors and windows, perfectly cut stones.


Inca acqueduct
Inca's aqueducts still work and carry water without any maintenance. Nodoby know from where the water comes, but there is a theory saying that it arrives from a nearby mountain.


Pisaq, Peru Pisaq, Peru
The modern Pisaq, has a coloruf central square and picturesque narrow streets.


Pisaq handicraft market, Peru Pisaq handicraft market, Peru
Pisaq handicraft market, Peru In the central square there is also a nice traditional market where locals sell products of different kinds, mainly handycrafts, musical instruments and alpaca-wool clothes. Everything is very inviting, but be sure to bargain before paying, as the final price can be an half of the original !


Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo, Peru Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo, Peru
The day continues with a visit to Ollantaytambo ruins, in the past an important center with administrative, productive, economical and religious functions.


Ollantaytambo, Peru
The modern Ollantaytambo as seen from the top of the hill where the ruins are located. The sun is about to set and the tall mountains all around create long shadows.


From the ruins, looking to the moutain in the front, two interesting shapes can be distinguished. On the left picture, a woman's face profile can be seen, while, on the right picture, a shape of a king with a crown on the head is clearly visibile in the center, between the two home complexes. These shapes are natural and it is belived that they had a mean for the local population.


Inca terraces for agricolture, Peru Inca terraces for agricolture, Peru
The terraces seen from the top. It is still uncertain if their purpose was just for decoration or for agricolture.


Sacred Valley, Peru
Pictures of Ollantaytambo. Top left picture: the traditional Inca wall, as seen a lot of times. Top right picture: a huge stone. We still don't know its function, as well as the meaning of the pattern on the surface. Uncertain is also its origin, although a stone quarry was found on the top of the mountain on the left picture


Inca fountain, Peru
The day ends with a visit to the bath area where the water still runs in the original Inca's aqueducts and nice fountains.


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