Friday, March 20, 2015

Past POIs - Ollantaytambo [Cusco, Peru]

In 2014, we went to Peru to do the Machu Picchu Inca Trail hike and one of the stops that we made was to Ollantaytambo which is usually part of the Sacred Valley tours.  Since there were three of us, we decided to rent a private driver for the day and we told him where we wanted to go and Ollantaytambo was one of the stops.  Unfortunately since our driver didn't speak much English, we just wandered around and tried to understand and appreciate the sites on our own.

Bottom of Ollantaytambo
Ollantaytambo is a town but tourists come to see the archaeological site right next to it.  Original, it was the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti during the Inca Empire.  During the Spanish conquest of Peru, it was the stronghold for the Inca resistance lead by Manco Inca Yupanqui.  Now, it is the starting point of the tree-day, four-night Inca Trail hike.

From the base of Ollantaytambo
The terraces that you see (multi-level areas) were built for agricultural purposes.  The terraces provided them with the ability to farm on terrain that they otherwise wouldn't be able to.  The different levels also allowed them to tap into different micro-climates which changes dramatically from level to level.  You will find these terraces all over Peru.

Off in the distance, you will see a set of structures that looks almost like a series of townhouses, these are actually storehouses.  Since they were built at such high altitude, it meant more wind and lower temperatures which protected their contents from decaying quickly.

Store House
Well worth a visit if you are in the area.

Join me every Friday for another Past Point of Interest!