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Useful Information

INFORMATION OF SACRED VALLEY OF THE INCAS

PISAQ
Introduction:
This great archaeological complex was located in the district of P'isaq province of Calca, 33 km. east of the city of Cusco.

There is a strange coincidence between the distances that unite P'isaq, Cusco and Pikillacta. The distance between Cusco and P'isaq is 30 km., and it is exactly the same distance between P'isaq and Pikillacta, and also 30 km. from Cusco to Pikillacta. When one joins the three cities along a straight line, one forms an equilateral triangle. This has sparked a great deal of speculation about this incredible architectural genius that the incas had.

The beauty of its walls, which are made of huge blocks of polished stone with extraordinary symmetry and a unique mastery of the stone, leave the visitor puzzled. One’s first reaction is surprise, which later turns into deep respect for the creators of these ancient buildings, silent witnesses of the greatness of an empire.

‘On the shores of the Willkamayu, the god’s sacred river that runs through carved stone streams to curb its fury, one can see the light and shadowy lines of the P'isaq terraces, the great city of doves. A city of legend that was built on top of a blue rock, almost in air to see more of the most beautiful Cusco Valleys", wrote Peruvian historian Alfonsina Barrionuevo of this ancient Inca city. P'isaq is formed by a group of homes, aqueduct, roads, bridges, a cemetery, walls and great terracing.

When Antonio Raymondi, the Italian naturalist and geographer, visited P'isaq, he was astonished by the beauty of its walls and wrote the following: "what we must admire most in P'isaq is the fine carving and the perfect union of the rocks that are so well assembled, that one can hardly see very fine straight, circled or crooked lines, as to demonstrate the difficulty of the cut and the wittiness of the execution. From distance to distance one can see doors, streets, stairs, towers, quarters and living quarters; suspended in the highest peaks and where the imagination of the most daring constructor would barely dare to raise a building".

The translation of this Quechua word is unclear. Peruvian historian Victor Angles says it is a "name that does not have a translation in another language, because specifically it does not qualify as any object or event"..."The Spanish form is Pisac, from the word P'isaq, which at the same time is also written Pisaqa, which is a bird from the chicken family, a bird that abounds in the place, similar to the pigeon or lluthu."
An unconfirmed version says that the Inca city of P'isaq has the shape of this bird, which was the god of the tribe who lived in this area before the incas.

History
There are no precise facts about the first settlement in this area, but there is no doubt that Tiahuanacos, Waris and other cultures had a major cultural influence on the southeastern. It is assumed that the entire area, which later was occupied by P'isaq, was already settled around the tenth and eleventh centuries, when the Inca boom began; since it has fertile and productive lands that had to be occupied by one of the groups that originated in the area.It is possible that P'isaq was a very important regional capital, thanks to its fertile land and strategic location. When it was incorporated to the Inca Empire it took on new architectural, agricultural and hydraulic techniques, in a way that they built a city with Inca characteristics that is compared to the Imperial Capital.
Explorer Charles Weiner considers these constructions as an excellent example of the Inca’s architecture in its best and purest style.

CALCA:
Calca is located 50 km. north of Cusco, over 2,926 meters above sea level. It is a plateau which is as the central part of a region where roads, riverbeds and the most diverse cultures come together.

During the Inca empire, Calca was an important population center with an amazing administrative organization. This can be seen from the beautiful pre-Hispanic walls in the streets and plazas of the current population, as well as the great archaeological monument of Juch'uy Qosqo. The perpetual ice peaks of Sawasiray and Pitusiray also stand out: these were important divinities and gave origin to the legend of Pitusiray.

URUBAMBA:
Considered a Biblical Paradise by naturalist Antonio de Leon Pinedo during the eighteenth century, Urubamba is today one of the most beautiful cities in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

The capital of Urubamba has the same name and is located 57 km. northwest of Cusco down the Chinchero route. It is 2,875 masl over a beautiful plateau that separates the central and eastern Andes on the right side of the Urubamba river.
The beautiful province of Urubamba, northeast of Cusco, borders with La Convencion, Cusco, Anta and Calca provinces.

The Vilcanota river crosses this city, and then changes its name to the Urubamba river.
The incas, experts on land matters, chose this fertile valley to establish their main settlements, which is why the province of Urubamba was formed by the district where the main architectural monuments are found: Urubamba, Ollantaytambo, Chinchero, Huayllabamba, Machupicchu, Maras and Yucay.

Ollantaytambo, one of the most impressive architectural complexes in the Inca Empire, can only be called "Fortress" due to its magnificent walls. It was actually a Tambo or shelter located in a strategic place in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
The architectural work as well as the quality of each stone, individually carved, make Ollantaytambo one of the most peculiar and amazing works of art made by the incas.

Ollantaytambo is located in the district of Urubamba, approximately 60 km. northeast of the city of Cusco and at a height of 2,792 masl. It was built on the side of the Bandolista hill.

OLLANTAYTAMBO:
Its name means "Tambo de Ollanta". "Tambo" or "Tampu", is a city with the capacity to shelter thousands of people. During Inca times, there were many tambos in different areas with no special name, the people simply called the town in their area a tambo.

Throughout the colony, it was called Tambo. It was later called Ollantay in memory of a commander from the Antisuyo who helped Huayna Capac conquer the province of Chinchaysuyo. Victor Angles explains the origin of the name Ollantaytambo, saying that towards the end of the eighteenth century, a play was staged whose principal character was General Ollanta and the place where all this took place -according to the literary piece- was in the Tambo right below Yucay, which from then on was called Ollantaytambo.

Inca Garcilaso de la Vega wrote that, after enhancing the Tambo forts built by Inca Huiracocha, other great buildings were put up in the area.
Alfonsina Barrionuevo describes the monument: "A stone work with a thick base which filters the waters of a river channeled by rocks, which guard the entrance of Ollantaytambo, the legendary town of Ollanta, the Indian warrior who dared to conquer the heart of a princess".The Town of the Rainbow

Chinchero, the most typical town in the sacred Valley of the Incas, is an inca city which the conquerors wanted to "civilize" and establish their culture, but they were never able to achieve it completely. Its inhabitants live in the almost untouched Inca constructions where their ancestors lived and formed the greatest and most prosperous civilization in America.

The city of the Rainbow is located 28 km. northeast of Cusco, over 3,762 meters, midway between the highlands and the warm valley, surrounded by the snow-clad mountains of Salkantay, Veronica and Soray. The view from here is impressive.

The current population of Chinchero lives in an old pre-Hispanic settlement and is one of the most representative signs of Andean cultural resistance. Its settlers, dressed in multicolored clothes, maintain their Indian race, only speak Quechua and still keep their age-old customs which they refuse to abandon.

The ayllus, or indigenous communities, as well as the swap system called trueque still goes on. They are Catholic, but their ancient beliefs bubble up now and then, giving thanks to the "Mamapacha" and the "apus", which are mountain spirits. They also make offerings in order to overcome any problem or have good crops.

CHINCHERO
The Town of the Rainbow
Chinchero, the most typical town in the sacred Valley of the Incas, is an inca city which the conquerors wanted to "civilize" and establish their culture, but they were never able to achieve it completely. Its inhabitants live in the almost untouched Inca constructions where their ancestors lived and formed the greatest and most prosperous civilization in America.

The city of the Rainbow is located 28 km. northeast of Cusco, over 3,762 meters, midway between the highlands and the warm valley, surrounded by the snow-clad mountains of Salkantay, Veronica and Soray. The view from here is impressive.

The current population of Chinchero lives in an old pre-Hispanic settlement and is one of the most representative signs of Andean cultural resistance. Its settlers, dressed in multicolored clothes, maintain their Indian race, only speak Quechua and still keep their age-old customs which they refuse to abandon.

The ayllus, or indigenous communities, as well as the swap system called trueque still goes on. They are Catholic, but their ancient beliefs bubble up now and then, giving thanks to the "Mamapacha" and the "apus", which are mountain spirits. They also make offerings in order to overcome any problem or have good crops

MORAY
The Terraces of Moray
Moray is a great archaeological complex, formed by a system of platforms of enormous terraces that overlap, acquiring the shape of a gigantic theater. These beautiful terraces formed an agricultural laboratory, in which the incas experimented and obtained improvements. Incredible advances were made in agriculture, which was the incas’ main activity and the basis of their economic development.

The huge circular terraces of Moray, are located 53 km. from Cusco down the road that leads to Urubamba.