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© 2008 Mark Collins
Peru 2004 - Day 6 (continued)
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..
|The 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.
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.
|Here 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.
|At 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.
|Once the level ground was reached, the next place of interest is the water temple.|
|The final photo of Ollantaytambo is of the wall at the foot of the terraces with its fabulous Inca arches and recesses.|