The Sacred Valley for the Incas
With the river feeding the valley, its fertile lands were one of the main centers of food production during the time of the Incas; Some places, such as Moray, were used as agricultural laboratories, to experiment with species of plants brought from across the empire. The Incas cultivated potatoes, white corn, coca, fruits and vegetables, on terraces like those that can be seen in many valley villages specially designed for this purpose. Today the valley produces lucuma, peach, avocado, and one of the best corn grains in the world.
But it was more than just an important agricultural center; The Urubamba River Valley, “Willcamayu” for the Incas, was one of the most important elements in the religious cosmology of the Incas. They believed that the flow of the Urubamba was closely linked to constellations and mountains, they also believed that it was the counterpart of the milky way on earth.
information: Machu Picchu Tour
Where is the Sacred Valley of the Incas?
The Urubamba river valley or “Sacred Valley of the Incas”, is located 15 km northeast of the city of Cusco, is reached by a paved road. A trip by car to one of the nearest villages will take around 40 minutes. From there you can move to the other villages in the valley.
What is the weather like in the valley?
The Sacred Valley of the Incas is 2,800 m.s.n.m., 600 meters below Cusco, and enjoys one of the best climates in this region, daytime temperatures vary between 19 ° and 24 ° C. This privileged climate made the Incas take it as their main center of agricultural production, experimentation and research. Nowadays, travelers use the valley to acclimatize themselves, before starting their tours through Cusco and Machu Picchu, and without a doubt one of the best ways to avoid altitude sickness.
What to see in the Sacred Valley of the Incas?
Known by the Incas as Willcamayu, the beautiful valley extends from the town of Pisac to Ollantaytambo, along the Urubamba river. The ancient Inca settlements in these cities are presented as checkpoints, before entering the “Inca Trail” that leads to the sacred city of the Incas, Machu Picchu; They are simply amazing, and one of the best before what you will see in wonder.
The town of Pisac is located 33 kilometers from the city of Cusco and is presented as the door to the Sacred Valley. It is world famous for its craft market and its impressive archaeological remains, located on a mountain above the town. This town was a kind of capital of the region in the time of the Incas, very important for its excellent location and its fertile lands. The Inca and colonial constructions that are exhibited in its territory, are admirable for its great bill and for the platforms that surround the mountains and polished stone structures, assembled to perfection. On the other hand, the people of Pisac has become the spiritual center of the Sacred Valley, in it you can have all kinds of experiences and spiritual retreats, in addition to meeting people from all over the world interested in this.
Urubamba is one of the most important cities in the valley today, it is a city that was born during the colony and is considered the world capital of corn. This is possible because it is watered by numerous rivers that are born in the peaks of the glacial mountains; This whole territory was highly appreciated by the Incas due to the fertility of their lands and the great qualities for cultivation. It is one of the best places to relax in the valley, you will see many foreigners, but beware, they are not tourists, they are people who left their countries and decided to stay in this cozy town.
Ollantaytambo, also known as Ollanta, is located 97 km northwest of the city of Cusco; approximately 2 hours and 30 minutes by car. It was during the time of the Incas a fortified city, with temples, urban, agricultural and defense walls. It is known that the Inca city of Ollantaytambo served as an administrative checkpoint. After the Spanish invasion, it became one of the favorite places of the viceroys. It is considered one of the most important archaeological sites in Peru and South America; In addition, many people consider that after Machu Picchu, the town and the ruins of Ollantaytambo contain the most impressive Inca stone work in Peru; However, it is not the only amazing thing about this place. Only a few years ago, global positioning systems allowed us to discover that Ollantaytambo is aligned with other ancient constructions throughout the world; the pyramids of Gíza, the Easter islands, the Nazca lines, are just some of them; In addition, the most important archaeological remains around the world are aligned around this line. We recommend you visit the Inca city of Ollantaytambo, otherwise, you will be missing out on something very big.
On a normal tour of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the town of Chinchero will be the one you will visit after touring most of the valley, back to Cusco; It is located 28 km from the city of Cusco at 3,772 m.a.s.l. and it has important archaeological sites, a beautiful 17th-century colonial church with canvases of the “Cuzqueña School”, and a typical market where bartering can still take place.