Sacred Valley
Just north of Cuzco is the Sacred Valley of the Urubamba River. There are many sites in the Valley including the two major sites of Pisac and Ollantaytambo.

The Inca ruins of Pisac lie in the steep hills above the modern colonial town, which sits along the Urubamba River in the valley. You can reach the ruins in two ways. One is by hiking up the steep trail that leaves the main plaza on the northeast side. The other is by driving up the road to the ruins. It's easy to return to Pisac by hiking down the trail.

The ruins are situated along a ridge that juts off of the main mountain range. The uppermost ruin is Qanchisracay which affords a great view of the terracing below. The trail below which was built by the Incas contains doorways, stairs, and tunnels. 




The next ruins along the trail are at Kalla Q'asa, or Parrot Pass. This is a heavily fortified area due to its location along the ridge and easy access from both sides. The heavy walls that protected the site are still there. As you walk along the trail from the pass towards the Intiwatana you pass above large expanses of terraces still used for agriculture today. Historically the terraces were either used to feed the inhabitants of the site or to grow maize used to make Chicha beer for ritual use.


By far the most interesting site within the Pisac complex is the Intiwatana, or Hitching Post of the Sun. This site was used as an observatory. In the photo to the right, in the center is the Temple of the Sun containing a large stone topped with a small rock pillar (fig 1). Near it is thought to be the Temple of the Moon (fig 2). At the south end is one of two rituals baths at the site, this one being fed by a water channel (fig 3). Surrounding the temples are several rooms of very high quality stonework and one of very crude masonry. See a Quick Time VR of the Intiwatana.



Cuzco 2


Sacred Valley 2