Posted by Vi Warkentin on
Time to explore the ruins that rise above Ollantaytambo. This area is called Araqama Ayllu or also Temple Hill. There is a series of carved stone terraces - the Terraces of Pumatallis - leading up the hillside to the temple built to protect the lower Urubamba Valley, also known as the Sacred Valley. The temple area was being constructed when the Spaniards arrived. This was the site of the greatest Inca victory over the Spanish in 1537. But the victory was very short-lived for the Incas as the Spanish regrouped, returned and took the elaborate walled complex.
If you glance at the top center-left of the photo, you can see a pinkish-brown area - this is part of the Sun Temple, an uncompleted building which features the Wall of the Six Monoliths - six massive boulders made of pink rhyolite. The stone used for building here was brought from a quarry high up on the opposite side of the Urubamba river - an amazing feat that would have involved the efforts of thousands of workers.(A closer look at that in the next post).
Glance up from town to the stone terraces that rise to the peak. The Terraces of Pumatallis were used for agriculture however due to their impressive character, Temple Hill is commonly know as the Fortress. This is a misnomer as the main function of Temple Hill was religious in nature. Didn’t realize there were rain droplets on my lens (below). Incredible rock work on these Terraces of Pumatallis. It was almost 4 pm and the sun would be setting soon. It seemed like a lot of steps to climb as this was going to be my first physical exertion since arriving this morning at the higher altitudes in Peru. However, at 9,160 feet above sea level, Ollantaytambo was by no means near the highest point that we’d be exploring in the next few days. Just going to take it slow up the many, many stairs.What an amazing view and the workmanship on the terracing is stunning. Such picturesque views from this vantage point.
Day 5 - Friendly Planet - Amazing Peru Tour