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Valle Sagrado de los Incas

(Sacred Valley of the Incas)

 

Called this way to the end of the extensive valley of Urubamba, near to Cuzco where the agricultural cattlemen and beautiful towns were concentrated since Inca times.

 

Valle Sagrado" is embraced between the towns of Písac and Ollantaytambo, it has wonderful landscapes where its inhabitants, native of the Quechua ethnic, conserve many customs and ancestral rites.

 

It is the area where you can appreciate and magnify the high technological development that the Inca, reached in the agriculture through "andenería" systems (platform systems that are a group of earth patches arranged in steps on the hills to be used in the sow). These systems are still today in full production, with sophisticated designs and hydraulic engineering works that they used for watering. Also outstanding adoration centers to the Pachamama (mother earth).

 

Písac

Picturesque town located in the skirts of Intihuatana hill (place where the sun is tied). It has the best "andenería" system (platform system) achieved by the Inca in all the Andes. Near the town is located the "Parque Arqueológico de Pisac" (Archaeological Park of Písac), Inca archaeological locations, constructions in finely assembled refined stone, citadel, turrets, military fortresses, astronomical observatories, etc. Outstands the Inca cemetery, the biggest of America. Every Sunday is celebrated the Sunday feast, headed by the caciques or bosses of Ayllus carrying their "varáyoc" and typical suits, folkloric dance and mass in Quechua. Every Sunday is also carried out the "catu" that is the indigenous fair of exchange of agricultural products in which the exchange, alive custom of Inca character prevails.

 

Indian Market: Every Thursday and Sunday is carried out in the Main Square a crafts fair, outstanding beautiful textile crafts, sweaters, ponchos, bags, etc. and the crafts made out of ceramic with reproductions of Inca archaeological pieces, the queros (ceremonial glasses), necklaces, etc. To this fair artisans and indigenous merchants of many towns go to be supplied and to trade their products - the Indian market.

 

Písac is located at 32 Km. (20 miles) from Cuzco, 2,972 meters above sea level (9,751 feet).

 

Calca

Town located between beautiful landscapes, in an atmosphere of peace and tranquility that has as a beautiful background, the snowy mountains of Pitusira and Sahuasiray. Near the town are the medicinal spas of Machacancha (thermal sulfurous springs) and Minasmoqo (cold gassy springs). Near Calca is located the archaeological Inca complex Huchuy Cuzco. Calca is located at 50 km. (31 miles) from Cuzco, 2,928 meters above sea level (9,606 feet).

 

Yúcay

The beauty of its landscape, and the benign of the weather made of Yúcay the elected place for the Inca royalty resort, which is also attributed to be a place with mythological character and powers on the human spirit. The fertility of its lands transformed it into one of the main centers of agricultural production during the Inca time, big "andenerías" (platforms). Numerous Inca constructions exist, outstanding among those the Palace of the Inca Sayri Túpac, stone and adobe construction with decorations in its walls on high and low embossment. In the town a small place museum exists; comfortable and good hotels exist in the area. It is located at 68 km. (42 miles) from Cuzco, and 2,857 meters above sea level (9,373 feet).

 

Urubamba

Other old Inca town, located in fertile valley, formerly great agricultural producer center of the Inca, and today a beautiful countryside, with great production of fruit bearing. Urubamba is in the skirts of the majestic snowy mountain Chicón, to which you can arrive easily and achieve its ascent. Urubamba is also called the "Capital Arqueológica del Perú" (Archaeological Capital of Peru), for the rich Inca archaeological locations that exist in the area; also called "La Perla del Vilcanota", for the incomparable landscapes that surround it, natural scenarios of an indescribable beauty. Indigenous communities of marked ancestral customs exist.

 

Urubamba is also ideal scenery for the practice of numerous adventure sports, as canoeing, hiking, mountain biking and horse rides. From Urubamba, good penetration routes exist to undertake adventures in the forest of Cuzco. In the town and periphery exist comfortable and good hotels. It is located at 72 km. (45 miles) from Cuzco, via Písac, and at 58 km. (36 miles) via Chinchero; 2,871 meters above sea level (9,419 feet)

 

Ollantaytambo

The legend counts that Ollántay (the titan of the Andes) of plebeian origin, loved the princess Cusi Coyllor (cheerful star) the Inca king's daughter Pachacútec, who was in disagreement with this love. Pachacútec sent the princess to a house of Virgins; Ollántay tried to abduct her, without getting her, being able to escape. From the fortress that Ollántay controlled he rebelled against Pachacútec, and after bloody battles was defeated, but the generosity of Pachacútec forgave the life of Ollántay.

 

The foundation of Ollantaytambo is attributed to Ollántay, and the military fortress that protected this area of the valley prevails strategically located between two mountains. Actually you can visit this fortress, and also the rich Inca archaeological locations, conformed by the temple to Inti (god sun), the icamisana, the spas of the Ñustas (princesses), the chullpas of Cachiccata, a group of terraces symmetrical and steep stairs in the slope of a hill.

 

In the summit of the archaeological complex out stand six monoliths of enormous size, assembling with incredible precision, that have mysterious engravings of Inca iconography.

 

The current town of Ollantaytambo, has many houses built on the bases of the old Inca town where natives of ingrained ancestral customs inhabit.

 

The complexity and beauty of the Inca constructions and the contemporary town, the immense agricultural complex, great administrative and social center, religious and military, is considered by many scientists and historians like one of the most important alive museums in the world.

 

Ollantaytambo is located at 97 km. (60 miles) from Cuzco, 2,846 meters above sea level (9,337 feet). Train station to Machu Picchu.

 

 

The whole "Valle Sagrado de los Incas", is also a natural scenery, where besides appreciating the archaeological wealth, is an ideal place to enjoy its rich Andean flora and fauna, observation of wild birds, and the practice of adventure sports.

 

The diversity of its micro weathers allows the production of a big quantity of variety species of height flowers that beautify its sowed fields with immense variety of potatoes, cereals, vegetables, fruit-bearing and ornamental plants. In the area it will be common to find deers, chinchillas, vizcachas, foxes, Andean doves, and infinity of birds and beautiful hummingbirds. In the Vilcanota River you can fish delicious salmon-like and rainbow trout, especially among the months of April to October.

 

The hotels in Sacred Valley of the Incas area have the advantage to have a smaller height of 1000 meters respect to Cuzco city and are within beautiful landscapes of the countryside.

 

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