Shoppin' Inca style

Trip Start Jun 19, 2010
Trip End Aug 29, 2010

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Flag of Peru  , Sacred Valley,
Sunday, August 1, 2010

This was our first stop in the Sacred Valley on our way to Machu Picchu. We had gotten lots of suggestions to check out the Pisac and Ollantaytambo ruins and we were glad we did.

We timed our visit to Pisac to coincide with the large Sunday market that fills the town's main square and overflows throughout the town. Here there were in numerous sales people halking silver jewelry, woven blankets, a million types of hats, and all things Incan. We particularly liked the naturally dyed hand woven belts and blankets as well as the vegetable, cheese and meat stuffed peppers.

Overlooking the city were the large agricultural terraces of the Pisac ruins. We took a collective cab up to the top then walked down. The ruins were extremely impressive and well worth the stop.

We hopped on a bus after our long day and headed off to Ollantaytambo to spend the night.

Some info from Wiki:

Písac is a Peruvian village in the Sacred Valley on the Urubamba River. The village is well-known for its market every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, an event which attracts heavy tourist traffic from nearby Cusco. One of its more notable features is a large pisonay tree which dominates the central plaza.[1] The sanctuary of Huanca, home to a sacred shrine, is also near the village. Pilgrims travel to the shrine every September.

The area is perhaps best known for its Incan ruins, known as Inca Písac, which lie atop a hill at the entrance to the valley. The ruins are separated along the ridge into four groups: Pisaqa, Intihuatana, Q'allaqasa, and Kinchiracay.[2] Intihuatana includes a number of bathes and temples. The Temple of the Sun, a volcanic outcrop carved into a "hitching post" for the Sun (or Inti), is the focus, and the angles of its base suggest that it served some astronomical function. Q'allaqasa, which is built onto a natural spur and overlooks the valley, is known as the citadel.[3]

The hillside is lined with agricultural terraces constructed by the Inca and still in use today. These terraces were created by hauling richer topsoil from the lower lands by hand. They enabled them to produce surplus food more than would normally be possible at altitudes as high as 11,000 feet. [4] With military, religious, and agricultural structures, the site served at least a triple purpose. Besides a country estate, it is thought that Písac defended the southern entrance to the Sacred Valley, while Choquequirao defended the western entrance and the fortress at Ollantaytambo the northern. Inca Pisac controlled a route which connected the Inca Empire with the border of the rain forest. According to Kim MacQuarrie, Pachacuti erected a number of royal estates after he conquered other ethnic groups to remember the victories. Among these royal estates are Pisac (victory over the Cuyos), Ollantaytambo (victory over the Tambos) and Machu Picchu (conquest of the Vilcabamba Valley) [5]. Other historians suggest that Pisac was established in order to protect Cusco from possible attacks of the Antis nations. It is unknown when Inca Pisac was built. Since it does not appear to have been inhabited by any pre-Inca civilization, it was most likely built no earlier than 1440. It was distroyed by Pizarro and the Conquistadores in the early 1530s. The modern town of Pisac was built by Viceroy Toledo down in the valley during the 1570s.

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