Sacred Valley of the Incas

If you keep following the Urubamba River on its right hand side, you will arrive at Yucay, a tiny town of Incan origin, where the palace remains of Sayri Túpac, one of the Incan rebels of Vilcabamba, as well as a splendid colonial church will capture the eye.

The next city after leaving Yucay is Urubamba, situated in the center of the valley and given the name “the pearl of the Vilcanota” because of the impressive beauty of its countryside, spreading outward from the foot of the white mountain, Chicón. During the empire, Urubamba was one of the main regional agricultural centers.

Turning towards the south, you will soon arrive at Maras. Close to the village are the famous salt licks, an impressive sight from where this spice has been extracted since pre-Hispanic times. It is a must to pass through Moray to be seduced by its concentric cultivated terraces, a jewel of Incan engineering, formed by a complex of 150 meter deep circular terraces, where, as it is believed, the Incans performed their agricultural experiments.

In Chinchero, whose name comes from the Quechua word sinchi, Indian Warrior, the traveler will find an Incan wall situated in the main square and decorated with ten trapezoidal niches in very good condition. Every Sunday, Chinchero also has a fair, a true festival of color.

At last, every visit to the Sacred Valley must include a stop at Ollantaytambo, the final village in the valley. There, the Incans built an important military, religious, and agricultural center. At the top of the hill that overlooks the town, there is a fortress, which is reached by climbing very large flights of stairs and constructed to protect the valley from any possible invasion from jungle tribes. Its stone walls and terraces are indescribably beautiful.

Visiting the sacred valley of the Incas allows for a deep understanding of a unique way of life where the harmony between man and his environment is an example for human ecology. It is a gifted spot of enchanting landscape haunted by the fires of history.