Ollantaitambo, Peru
13° 15' S 72° 15' W
Jul 01, 2010 20:17
Distance 43km

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Sacred Valley

Thursday, July 1st, Sacred Valley

The second day in the highlands takes you from Cusco to the Sacred Valley of the Incas. During the golden age of the Inca’s (1400 to 1520 AD), this valley was a rich farming area where the Incas used a combination of irrigation and terraces to intensively grow their harvests.  For the traveler, there are several examples of Inca settlements and fortifications, plus an introduction to the current highland Peruvian lifestyle.  We did a short practice hike, visited a few markets and at the end of the day visited the site or Ollyantamba.  This Inca remain is a partly completed temple, which is impressive in its scale and the size of the stones that were moved and carved.  Work on the temple was abruptly stopped in the early 1500’s when the Inca nation became involved in an internal conflict between two warring brothers.  In terms of effort, manpower, stone carving, and stone moving, this site is more impressive that Machu Picchu, but it lacks the critical advantage of location; Machu Picchu is blessed with an awesome site which takes your breath away. The actual buildings are impressive, but relatively simple in workmanship and effort compared to Ollyantambu.


We are getting used to the elevation, and becoming excited about the challenges of the next several days.  The group is bonding, pulling together, developing its own character and hunkering down for what is next.

Photos / videos of "Sacred Valley":

One of the many Inca ruins between Cusco and Machu Picchu.  This site is pronouced Sexy Women, but likely not spelt this way. Sexy Women site and the cross/Jesus statute that blesses the city of Cusco. Looking down on the Sacred Valley. Start of the Sacred Valley.  On the top left portion of the photo you can see evidence of the flooding that occurred in March 2010.  In this area alone several people were killed. Inca site.  The valley is full of such remains. Inca terrace farming.  This farming practise stopped in the mid 1500's but the stone terraces still remain.  Today, the locals are not allowed to harm or change these sites.  The irrigation systems that feed these sites have fallen into dis-repair. Terraces going way up the opposite mountain.  The Inca's were an industrious lot. Inca fortress, primer for Machu Picchu. Looking way down from the top.  The site was near the top of the range along the Sacred Valley, with the actual valley about 500+ metres below. The clan.  Of the 16 of us, 10 did the Lares Trial and 6 did the Inca Trial.  Today we toured together, then split up for the hikes and then met again on the MP site.  Note the two with the tri-pods, they took them everywhere on the hike. Looking about in the Sacred Valley, this is rough terrain and high (2500+ metres). The temple at Ollantaytambo.  The temple is awesome in terms of the effort required to make it.  It likely took as much work as MP but the site is less impressive; it is all about location/locatin/ location. Some of the rock walls of the temple at Ollantaitambo.  These stones were made to fit with only the simpliest of tools (like another stone and iron tool). Mountain opposite the temple.  The buildings you see on that mountains are grainaries used for storing food. This site was not finished.  Work stopped around 1500 because of fighting between the two brothers who were to susceed their father and the arrival of the Spainish around 1550. Sacred Valley in the early morning.  At night it gets cool (just above 0 C).  The sky is so clear, what no-polution looks like. Somewhat eroded terraces as we head out to the start of our hike.