The Sacred Valley of the Incas (Valle Sagrado de los Incas);or the Urubamba Valley is a valley in the Andes of Peru, 20 kilometres (12 mi) at its closest north of the Inca capital of Cusco. It is located in the present-day Peruvian region of Cusco. In colonial documents it was referred to as the "Valley of Yucay." The Sacred Valley was incorporated slowly into the incipient Inca Empire during the period from 1000 to 1400 CE. The scenic and historical Sacred Valley is a major tourist destination. In 2013, 1.2 million people, 800,000 of them non-Peruvians, are estimated to have visited Machu Picchu, its most famous archaeological site. Many of the same tourists also visited other archaeological sites and modern towns in the Sacred Valley.
Cusco, a city of about a half a million people, was the seat of power of the Incan empire from about the 13th century until the Spanish Inquisition in the 16th-century. Cusco sits in the Andes mountains an elevation of 3400 m (11,200ft). Cusco is the site of major Incan ruins like Qurikancha, the royal palace of the Incas, and Saqsaywaman, a walled complex overlooking the valley of Cusco.
Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca citadel situated on a mountain ridge 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level. It is located in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province, Machupicchu District in Peru. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was constructed as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often mistakenly referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas" (a title more accurately applied to Vilcabamba), it is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. The Incas built the estate around 1450 but abandoned it a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Although known locally, it was not known to the Spanish during the colonial period and remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram Bingham brought it to international attention in 1911.
Calca, a beautiful and tranquil town, is the capitol of the Sacred Valley and was the agricultural hub of the Incan Empire. Irrigated by ancient Incan waterways that have been in continual use since that time of the Incas, Calca is still today the agricultural hub of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Located in the very center of the Sacred Valley, calc is the most populous Town in the valley, however given there are no tourist attractions, it is still today primarily an indigenous community. Quechua is spoken more frequently than Spanish.
Maras has been a place to obtain salt since pre-Inca times by evaporating salty water from a local subterranean stream. The highly salty water emerges at a spring, a natural outlet of the underground stream. The flow is directed into an intricate system of tiny channels constructed so that the water runs gradually down onto the several hundred ancient terraced ponds. Almost all the ponds are less than four meters square in area, and none exceeds thirty centimeters in depth. All are necessarily shaped into polygons with the flow of water carefully controlled and monitored by the workers. The altitude of the ponds slowly decreases, so that the water may flow through the myriad branches of the water-supply channels and be introduced slowly through a notch in one sidewall of each pond
Lares Valley, the Incan thermal baths, are completely natural water that comes from the Andean mountains. This water is recommended for the treatment of rheumatic disorders (arthritis), traumatic disorders in treating fractures, bone and joint pain, muscle pain, stomach ailments, etc. Enjoy the best tour ever in a natural Inca spa enjoying the beauty of the valley and the landscape in the outdoor hot pools. The hot springs of Lares are located at over 10,000 feet (3,250 m) above sea level and are a tourist attraction in the area, with temperatures range between 96º-111º F (36º-44º C). The outcrops of medicinal mineral water contain calcium, magnesium, sodium, potassium, sulphates, iron, manganese, and copper, among others.
Urubamba or Urupampa (Quechua "flat land of spiders") is a small town in Peru, located near the Urubamba River under the snow-capped mountain Chicón. Located one hour from Cusco, Urubamba is the largest town in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It is also located near a number of significant ruins of the Inca Empire, including Machu Picchu. The sparse remains of the Inca palace, Quispiguanca, are within the town. Tourists often come through the town on their way to visit these sites.
Inca emperors customarily acquired large royal estates to increase their power and wealth and that of their descendants who inherited the estates. Royal estates served as elegant country palaces and, at times, fortresses to fend off rivals for power. The ruins of other royal estates, notably Huchuy Qosqo and Machu Picchu are scattered up and down the Urubamba or Yucay Valley, commonly called the Sacred Valley.
Ollantaytambo is a town and an Inca archaeological site in southern Peru some 72 kilometres (45 mi) by road northwest of the city of Cusco. It is located at an altitude of 2,792 metres (9,160 ft) above sea level in the district of Ollantaytambo, province of Urubamba, Cusco region. During the Inca Empire, Ollantaytambo was the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti who conquered the region, built the town and a ceremonial center. At the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru it served as a stronghold for Manco Inca Yupanqui, leader of the Inca resistance. Nowadays, located in what is called the Sacred Valley of the Incas, it is an important tourist attraction on account of its Inca ruins and its location en route to one of the most common starting points for the four-day, three-night hike known as the Inca Trail.
Pisac or Pisaq s a Peruvian village in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It is situated on the Willkanuta River. Pisac is most known for its Incan ruins and large market every Sunday, Tuesday, and Thursday, an event which attracts heavy tourist traffic from nearby Cusco.
Pisac 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: P'isaqa, Inti Watana, Qalla Q'asa, and Kinchiraqay Inti Watana group includes the Temple of the Sun, baths, altars, water fountains, a ceremonial platform, and an inti watana, a volcanic outcrop carved into a "hitching post for the Sun" (or Inti). The angles of its base suggest that it served to define the changes of the seasons. Qalla Q'asa, which is built onto a natural spur and overlooks the valley, is known as the citadel.
Moray is an archaeological site in Peru approximately 50 kilometres northwest of Cuzco on a high plateau at about 3,500 metres and just west of the village of Maras. The site contains unusual Inca ruins, mostly consisting of several terraced circular depressions, the largest of which is approximately 30 m (98 ft) deep. As with many other Inca sites, it also has an irrigation system. The purpose of these depressions is uncertain, but their depth, design, and orientation with respect to wind and sun creates a temperature difference of as much as 15 °C (27 °F) between the top and the bottom.It is possible that this large temperature difference was used by the Inca to study the effects of different climatic conditions on crops. Speculation about the site has led to discussion about Moray as an Inca agricultural experiment station
Chinchero District is one of seven districts of the Urubamba Province in Peru. It is the location for the proposed Chinchero International Airport, which would serve travelers to the Cusco Region. Every Sunday the town of Chinchero is home to the biggest textile market in the sacred Valley. Textiles representing villages throughout the region appear in stall after stall brightly colored, exquisitely handcrafted fabrics and textiles of all sorts. The best time to go is Sunday morning since the market closes in the early afternoon and it often rains.
Saksaywaman is a citadel on the northern outskirts of the city of Cusco, Peru, the historic capital of the Inca Empire. Sections were first built by the Killke culture about 1100; they had occupied the area since 900. The complex was expanded and added to by the Inca from the 13th century; they built dry stone walls constructed of huge stones. The workers carefully cut the boulders to fit them together tightly without mortar. The site is at an altitude of 3,701 m (12,142 ft). Located on a steep hill that overlooks the city, the fortified complex has a wide view of the valley to the southeast. Archeological studies of surface collections of pottery at Saksaywaman indicate that the earliest occupation of the hilltop dates to about 900 CE