The Sacred Valley of the Incas is a world famous tourist attraction. The culture and architecture are elements that characterize the entire region. There are several attractions that you can find in the Sacred Valley and in them you can learn a lot about the culture and history of this wonderful place.
Knowing the history and culture of the Sacred Valley of the Incas is one of the most important things you should do during your visit to Peru. The most important attractions that we can find are archaeological centers and markets with a great cultural importance. Some of these attractions are considered world heritage sites.
Among the most visited and important attractions in the Sacred Valley are the Archaeological Center of Pisac, the Archaeological Center of Ollantaytambo, the Archaeological Center of Moray, among others, which we will tell you about below.
Pisac is located in the Sacred Valley, near Cusco. It is known for its ruins and its market. In this post you will discover what are its main attractions, things to see and do, and much other information.
Pisac is undoubtedly one of the main centers of the Sacred Valley. It is located 34 kilometers from Cuzco and is full of attractions. If the weather is favorable during the visit, we can immerse ourselves in one of the main markets of Peru, attend a Quechua mass and visit some of the most important ruins of the country.
Pisac has developed very rapidly in recent years. A neat grid of streets in the style of the classic Spanish colonial layout forms the center of town which has a mix of colonial and modern buildings with streets wide enough for one car to pass at a time. Walking is easier and much more fun.
The archaeological site of Ollantaytambo is located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas (in the town of the same name). This archaeological center turned out to be one of the main religious temples and Inca fortresses. It has an area of approximately 34,800 hectares.
The archaeological remains of Ollantaytambo have a very careful architecture. Proof of this are its beautiful platforms and structures such as the Temple of the Sun, the Royal House of the Sun, the Bath of the Usta, the Monumental Enclosure, among others.
The chronicles indicate that Ollantaytambo was built in the 15th century by order of the Inca Pachacutec. In 1537 they fought against the Spanish invaders and the Inca rebels, destroying a large part of the enclosure.
The city of Ollantaytambo is the only one in Peru that retains its original Inca urban organization. Both the archaeological site and the town are popular tourist attractions in Cusco.
Chinchero is located in the highest part of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It has an area of about 43 hectares. It is believed that it was initially occupied by the pre-Inca ethnic group called Killke.
During the height of the Inca Empire it was the residence of the Inca Tupac Yupanqui, who designed the construction of the local Inca palaces. The enclosure was formed by trapezoidal niches, stairways, walls and platforms. However, after the Spanish invasion, the site was almost completely destroyed. The church of Nuestra Señora de Monserrat was built on the site.
The town of Chinchero is famous for preserving many of its ancient traditions, such as clothing and lifestyle. There are several textile centers where you can learn the spinning techniques of the locals.
The textile centers of Chinchero are one of the main attractions of the Sacred Valley. They are organized by families and peasant communities, who use these centers as a means to show the various techniques of ancestral weaving. They also use them to offer the garments they make, as well as to promote Andean art.
The textile centers are organized in such a way that the profits received from sales are shared equally among the members of the peasant community. Their artisans make use of the loom or the «away» method, using raw materials such as alpaca and sheep wool.
The quality of the elaboration is recognized worldwide. Therefore, they are the center of visits by thousands of tourists who take their products as colorful and decorative souvenirs.
The archaeological site of Moray is located in the province of Urubamba, district of Maras in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It has an area of 37.50 hectares. Moray is a system of several large concentric circular terraces. Its function was that of an agricultural research center.
The arrangement of the platforms generates a variety of microclimates. A warmer temperature is reached at the deepest center of Moray, which increases as it moves outward. In total, it is estimated that Moray will host up to 20 different microclimates.
During the Inca period, Moray produced a great variety of vegetables and potatoes. It also allowed the domestication of other plant species that could not be grown in the surrounding areas. Today, the archaeological center of Moray is one of the most photographed tourist attractions in the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
The salt mines of Maras are located 46 kilometers from the city of Cusco, in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. On the slopes of Mount Qaqa Wiñay, at 3,380 meters above sea level, there are thousands of shallow pools filled with salt water.
The salt mines of Maras consist of more than 3 thousand natural salt wells near the town of Maras. Each of the wells is 5 square meters in size. The 3,000 pools are fed by a subway hypersaline spring that originated 110 million years ago during the formation of the Andes.
Currently, the natural salt pools attract hundreds of tourists. The view of this landscape is beautiful. The inhabitants of Maras used to sell this salt, just as the Incas used to do hundreds of years ago.
It is said that the salt mines of Maras were already here long before the Inca Empire, but little by little the number of pools in which natural salt water is captured and salt is obtained by evaporation has grown from several tens to several thousands.
They are located a few kilometers north of the city of the same name, just above the Sacred Valley.
Most tourists choose to reach the Maras Salt Mines through an excursion organized by a tourist agency. This service includes full transportation.