Advice for visiting Inca ruins: Bring along a great guidebook to Ollantaytambo

After two full days at Machu Picchu, we took the train to Ollantaytambo (often called “Ollanta”). We had read advice (somewhere?) to pick up a good guidebook since the information in it was what the guides would tell us anyway. How did we get into the archaeological site and only THEN remember that we should have purchased the guidebook? Well, too late now.

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Off we went to climb up the many stairs – determined to see what we could and to find out later just what we had seen. For the most part, the huge crowds were way ahead or way behind us.

We read later that all Inca terraces are not used in the same way. The terraces on the religious Temple hillside were so massive they were called the Fortress.

We read later that all Inca terraces are not used in the same way. The terraces on the religious Temple hillside were so massive they were called the Fortress.

We spotted terraces on many nearby mountainsides.   Why, we wondered? We later read that these were carefully placed to take advantage of different microclimates for agriculture.

Some areas, even after research later, remain mysteries to us as to their use.

Some areas, even after research later, remain mysteries to us as to their use.

Cousins Susie and Tom descending one of the grand staircases from possibly the Funerary section of the Temple section.

Cousins Susie and Tom descending one of the grand staircases from possibly the Funerary section of the Temple section.

Perhaps the easiest area to explore was at the base of Temple Hill where a small canal flows. The bath area was easy to identify and reminded us of a bathhouse we’d seen in Ephesus, Greece.

Nearby, the impressive Templo de Agua, with water still flowing.

Nearby, the impressive Templo de Agua, with water still flowing.

Any notion that all Inca building blocks are perfectly rectangular was dashed when we saw this large stone with a notch.

Any notion that all Inca building blocks are perfectly rectangular was dashed when we saw this large stone with a notch.

The Incas developed the site in the late 15th century. Ollantaytambo was not yet finished when the Spanish unsuccessfully assaulted it in 1536 and lost partly because the Inca were able to flood the plain. A year later, Manu Inka moved to the safer area of Vilcabamba, and, within a few years, the Spaniards took over Ollantaytambo.

Without a good guidebook to consult while we visited the site, we did our explorations that day and later. Using good wifi and more time, we “revisted” the site and started to piece together all that we’d seen. Needless to say, it would have been easier with the guidebook in hand!

 

July 2016

About simpletravelourway

Beth and Joe enjoy simple travel.
This entry was posted in Peru, South America - 2016 and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Advice for visiting Inca ruins: Bring along a great guidebook to Ollantaytambo

  1. What a fabulous sense of perspective that second photo gives! Absolutely amazing feat of building prowess – you must have had a wonderful visit:)

  2. canadianglobetrotter says:

    Really cool post.. just incredible eh!

  3. Miriam says:

    This is just spectacular and so fascinating. Thanks for sharing.

  4. I haven’t heard of this site before and it looks fascinating. Another place to add to the list!

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