Posted by: Ali | March 16, 2010

Ollantaytambo

Ollantaytambo is one of the locations of the fortresses guarding the Sacred Valley from invasion. It’s located closest to Machu Picchu, at the northern end of the valley.

I finally got to visit the ruins, and wow, they are spectacular. You can literally walk three blocks from the town square and be at the base of the ruins, unlike in Pisaq where you had to take a taxi up the side of the mountain for 10 minutes.

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Urubamba would be a great place to withstand a seige. They have running water, agricultural terraces which serve to both grow crops and inhibit invaders, and you can see for miles around. The weird part is, according to the people that research this kind of thing, the orientation of Ollantaytambo was not to defend against invaders from the jungles to the north, but actually against invaders from Cusco, which initially makes no sense because the people that built Ollantaytambo were the same people that lived in Cusco. So historians are saying that the fortress must have been built by either Ollantay, the original non-Inca chief who lived in the town before the Incas took over, who was rumoured to have a secret love afair with the Inca Pachacutec’s daughter.  Alternatively, the defenses may have been renovated after the Spaniards arrived and invaded Cusco. Ollantaytambo is known to be one of the places where the Incas made their last stand, and it was possible that new walls were built for that purpose.


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