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© 2008 Mark Collins


Peru 2004 - Day 6 (continued)
The Sacred Valley ~ Ollantaytambo

There is so much to see at this amazing place that I needed another page!

The spectacular Inca ruins rise above the town, and they once protected the strategic entrance to the lower Urubamba valley.

The temple area is at the top of steep terracing which helped to provide excellent defenses. Stone used for these buildings was brought from a quarry high up on the opposite side of the Urubamba river - an incredible feat involving the efforts of thousands of workers. The complex was still under construction at the time of the conquest and was never completed..

An amazing stonework corner at Ollantaytambo, Peru - MTC
Inca face in the rock, Ollantaytambo, Peru - MTCInca Doorway at Ollantaytambo, Peru - MTC
Store houses on the hillside, Ollantaytambo, Peru - MTCThe rock face above resembles the face of an Inca Prince - can you see him?

The trapezoid Inca doorways and recesses are their architectural hallmark.

This ruined building clings to the rock face opposite the ruins and was once used for the storage of produce.

The rock for this fortress was quarried on the distant side of the valley (at Río Urubamba), dragged along a straight road (still visibile) to the base of the hill and then up a ramp (still in place) to be used in the construction.  The remains of the ramp are visible in the foreground of the photo below.

Road used to bring the rock used to build Ollantaytambo, Peru - MTCRamp and view from Ollantaytambo, Peru - MTC

It is a steep climb up the many steps to reach the temple at the top, but the view and the interesting stonework repay the effort!

We were shown how the blocks were connected - with amazingly accurate plugs and sockets - extraordinarily skilful, and with the gaps between the stones so small that a knife blade could not be inserted.

The temple at the top was either never finished or dismantled by the Spanish conquerors. The six enormous red porphyry (pink granite) megaliths have fine carving of sacred Inca symbols on their surfaces.

Inca wall recesses, Ollantaytambo, Peru - MTC
Megaliths, Ollantaytambo, Peru - MTC

Carving on the megaliths, Ollantaytambo, Peru - MTC

Ruins, Ollantaytambo, Peru - MTCHere is a view of the ruins from the path that leads around the cliffs from the top. 

The large megaliths and the temple are in the middle distance, with the steep staircase that needs to be climbed to reach them across the centre of the image.


Sacrificial Altar, Ollantaytambo, Peru - MTCAt the base of the ruins is a Temple dedicated to water as well as this sacrificial altar.

Here is our group making our way back down from the ruins - the steps are steep and uneven!

From front to back are Andy & Jan Nichols, then Alan helping mum, followed by Sue Garwood then Tim Riley.  Steve Garwood is bringing up the rear.

Below is a view from the top of the steps - notice the irrigation channel running down the side. 

The Inca's were able to divert water onto any of the terraces to water their crops.  Many of these channels still function in Peruvian towns and villages today, and indeed the larger canals are being restored across the country to improve the productivity of the land.

Coming back down again, Ollantaytambo, Peru - MTC
Steps and irrigation channel, Ollantaytambo, Peru - MTCOnce the level ground was reached, the next place of interest is the water temple.


Water temple, Ollantaytambo, Peru - MTCWater temple, Ollantaytambo, Peru - MTC
View through an Inca window, Ollantaytambo, Peru - MTCThe final photo of Ollantaytambo is of the wall at the foot of the terraces with its fabulous Inca arches and recesses.

Wall with recesses, Ollantaytambo, Peru - MTC

Click here to continue the Peru pages