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Ollantaytambo
Cusco Peru

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Climate
: Cusco features two well-defined seasons: the rainy season, from November to March, with average temperatures of 12 °C; and a dry season (the recommended time of year for visiting) from April to October, with cold nights, sunny days and average temperatures of 9 °C.

Access: Ollantaytambo town lies 97 km from the city of Cusco (two-and-a-half hours).

Services: The area features restaurants, hotels and services such as rental of horses and mountain bikes.

Ollantaytambo, a typical Inca town, located 93 km northeast of Cusco, was so-named in honor of local chieftain Ollanta, who according to legend fell in love with one of the daughters of Inca ruler Pachacútec and was punished for daring to set his sights on royalty.

The Ollantaytambo Fortress, perched on a hilltop overlooking the town, features buildings such as the Temple of the Sun, the Mañaracay or Royal Chamber, the Incahuatana and the Princess' Baths.

The upper section features a fortress made up of a series of carved stone terraces built to protect the valley from possible invasion by warring jungle tribes. One of the best-preserved areas lies north of the Hanan Huacaypata square: an area of 15 blocks of houses built on top of carved stone walls.

The present-day town of Ollantaytambo is located in the same site where the urban sector was in Inkan times. It is really interesting because it is the only spot in Peru where it is possible to find people living in the same buildings that served as homes for the nobility of the Inca Society. Some of its narrow streets still keep their water channels where very clean water flowed for the population use; they are by the middle or at one side.

The streets of Ollantaytambo Town still maintain their Inca names. The town was divided in rectangular blocks with a very well planned geometrical layout giving the impression of being a town designed by modern architects. Every block was compound of two "kanchas" (apartments), the street gates had double jamb doorways which indicate that those were real palaces with rooms around a central patio. At least the lower part of the buildings is original and made with "pirka" type walls that were covered with a clay coat and possibly also had mural paintings. Today, their thatched roofs were replaced by red tiles and it is possible to breath a certain air of modernity as the town has electricity and tap water; but in short, the town has still an Inkan taste.

Some decades ago in Ollantaytambo, a worldwide meeting of the "Indian" representatives was carried out and they declared this town as the "World Capital of Indianity". By that time there were some efforts willing to help for an effective conservation of original structures; in practice, it is so little what was and is done for that purpose, and it is so sad to prove that many of its innate elements are being lost slowly.


Most Popular Archaeological Sites in Peru

Royal Tombs of the Lord of Sipan
Chan Chan Citadel
Kuelap Fortress
Ventanillas de Otuzco
Wari Citadel
Chavin de Huantar
Temple of Kotosh
The Pachacamac Oracle
Paracas
Huacas of Lima
Caral
Pyramids of Tucume
Choquequirao Citadel
Toro Muerto
Korikancha Temple
Sacsayhuaman Fortress
Terracing of Moray
Ollantaytambo
Tambomachay and Qenqo
MachuPicchu Citadel
Pisac
Huacas del Sol y de la Luna


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