Peru - Up on Temple Hill

Ollantaytambo - Temple Hill

The incomplete Temple Hill remains a mystery to this day as to why the work was never completed.  Many speculations have been made - perhaps it was the Inca emperor Pachacutec’s death, a rebellion of the Colla Indians (from the Lake Titicaca region who were brought here by Pachacutec as part of the forced labour system), the smallpox epidemic of 1527 , or the arrival of the Spaniards. The mystery remains.

Onwards and upwards.  Only 200+ steps to go. I enjoyed the climb up to the Ollantaytambo ruins which overlook the town. Amazing views. Although this is my first day at much higher altitudes than I’m used to (here it’s 9,160 feet above sea level - 2792 meters), I’m not having any issues.  Ollantaytambo_MG_6229.jpg 

Many of these walls are made of cut and fitted stones along with some areas fitted with fieldstones. Note a partial view of the Enclosure of the Ten Niches on upper left. A few more stairs to climb to get to that point.Ollantaytambo_MG_6227.jpg


On the upper RH corner, you can catch a glimpse of a trapezoidal doorway which leads to the upper Temple of the Sun. Again, more stairs to climb but definitely worth it.
Trapezoidal door on Temple Hill. Pass through here to get to the upper portion where the incomplete Temple of the Sun is located.
A closer look at one of the ten trapezoidal niches along the upper Enclosure of Ten Niches wall.Ollantaytambo_MG_6235.jpg

The Sun Temple (below) was constructed with huge pink granite (rose rhyolite) boulders which came from a stone quarry located some 4 km (about 2.5 miles) away on the opposite side of the valley. Evidence shows that the boulders were partially carved at the quarry site and then taken down the mountains, across the valley and over and then up to the Ollantaytambo site.  Dozens of boulders remain in the area between the quarry and this site - the explanation unclear.  

Here is part of the unfinished Temple of the Sun, considered one of the masterpieces of Inca stonework. These six pink monoliths are designed to glow as the rays of the rising sun hits the structure.  They fit perfectly together by thin slices of stone and the molten bronze that was poured in the t-joints holding the wall together.  It is suggested that these features indicate the wall was probably the handiwork of the Lake Titicaca’s Colla Indians. Stunning stonework.


Outlines of the Chakana, or the Inca Cross are visible here.  It is an Andean symbol and represents the three worlds: the world above (representing the gods of the sun, moon and stars), this world (representing this life) and the world below (representing death).


More amazing pieces of stonework. One of the many loose blocks strewn about on the hill - this loose block resting on an inclined plane.Ollantaytambo_MG_6248.jpg

Incredible work - this was particularly mindboggling for me - I just couldn’t believe the precision of the straight lines.Ollantaytambo_MG_6249.jpg
Paths and stone storage houses on other side of Temple Hill.Ollantaytambo_MG_6246.jpg

Day 5 - Friendly Planet - Amazing Peru Tour

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Welcome to my travel photo blog. Photography has been a part of my life for a long time – back in the day the Pentax Super Program was always near at hand. But it wasn’t until I started travelling around the world that photography became a vehicle for me to show others about the absolutely amazing and complex world we live in. My hope is to share with you glimpses of what I’ve seen. Enjoy!