This picturesque town with a blend of mestizo
and colonial architecture belong to the province of Calca at the entrance to the Sacred
Valley of the Incas, 32Km down a modern highway from the city of Cusco.
Founded during the reign of Viceroy Francisco de
Toledo, the town has both Western and native features that make it an original and typical
town of the region
PISAQ ARTS AND CHAFTS
merchants offer for sale all sorts of handicrafts, the most important of which are the
textiles and ceramic goods such as ceremonial goblets called "Q'eros", plates,
ashtrays, necklace and replicas of pre-Hispanic pottery. There are also ponchos, sweaters
and bag The handicrafts fairs are held every Thursday and Sunday in the main square o
Pisaq, as well as the Indian market, which is visited by inhabitants from the various
native communities to stock up on supplies or sell their products. 0 Sundays, there is
also the traditional Mass held in Quechua, which is attended by the Varayoc or village
leaders from the surrounding communities.
PISAQ ARCHAEOLOGICAL COMPLEX.- In the upper part
there are the remains of this re-Columbian settlement located a few kilometers from the
mestizo town. It takes up an entire mountain made up of different neighborhood or squares,
the main one being Intiwatana, which is admired for the architectural skill with which its
constructions were built. At the same time, the pre-Hispani cemetery is also of great
interest as it is the largest found in this part of the continent. There are thousands of
tombs, some of them looted. The complex is also famous for the colossal terraces that
circle the mountains and the fabulous watchtowers which were used as observation points as
well as for control and military defense.
This area has a beautiful landscape, surrounded by
the Pitusiray and Sawasiray snow-capped mountains. The archaeological complex of Huchuy
Qosqo is located in this province, as well as the medicinal hot mineral baths of
Machacancha (sulfurous hot water) and Minasmoqo (cold bubbling mineral water)
It is located 50 km from Cusco.
A historic area, Yucay is a pretty valley inhabited
by the Runas of the Tahuantinsuyo who built impressive works of agricultural engineering.
This area is important for the palace of the Inca Sairy Tupac 11, a construction made of
stone and adobe mud brick with haute- and bas-relief decorations. It was a center of
agricultural production for the Incas because of its mild climate, fertile land, abundant
water and vegetation, especially fruit trees.
From Pisac to Urubamba
From Pisac, following the Vilcanota River towards the
west, the narrow route between the river and the hills passes through the towns of Calca,
Yucay and Urubamba before arriving at Ollantaytambo. Yucay is associated with some
important events in Incan and colonial history. In the spacious Plaza de Armas we find a
beautiful, impressive tree, the pisonay, whose leafy branches and beautiful flowers grant
the town an air of festivity and elegance. The ruins of the Palace of the Inca Huayna
Capac can also be found in this area. Urubamba is not located far from here.Like many
places along the valley Urubamba is in a fine setting with snow-capped peaks in view, it
has many restaurants and pleasant dining areas with reasonable prices. The nearby White
Mountain range provides the area with scenery of extraordinary beauty. The town offers the
visitor a wide range of possibilities for rest and lodging, and includes a number of
hotels and other lodging houses.
Located 78km from Cusco via Pisaq and 57km via
Chinchero, it is located in the heart of the Sacred Valley and is known as the
"Pearl of the Vilcanota" with beautiful countrysides and a healthy climate,
located at the foot of the majestic snow-capped peak Chicón.
Urubamba, the archaeological capital of Peru, has many
possibilities for tourist activities, especially adventure tourism because of its natural
beauty. In the rain season there is an abundance of seasonal fruit. The area was also a
pre-Hispanic agricultural center.
This archaeological complex was a gigantic
agricultural, administrative, social, religious and military center in the era of the
Tahuantinsuyo. The Spaniards called it the Fortress of Ollantaytambo. It is located 97km
from Cusco down a modem highway.
Once can see the architectural style of its streets and
squares which are distinctly pre-Hispanic, with enormous polyhedrons forming the walls and
trapezoidal doors of temples and palaces. The urban distribution was set along rectilinear
and narrow streets which have been inhabited constantly by natives since the Incas' time.
In the upper and western part of the city rises a mountain
which houses innumerable pre-Hispanic constructions such as magnificent crafted temples
and terraces. A striking construction is the partially destroyed main temple, where once
can see the front stone carving made up of six perfectly built red monoliths. It also has
stepped molds, a characteristic made by the Earth. This made academics to consider
Ollantaytambo a living museum.
TO MACHUPICCHU.- The town of Ollantaytambo is located in
the far western part of the Urubamba Valley, in a place where the asphalt highway connects
with the circuit called the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the railway that leaves Cusco
bound for Machupicchu.
The train service covering the Cusco-Machupicchu route
allows tourists to visit the area, board the train in Ollantaytambo and within two hours
arrive in Puente Ruinas, from where buses leave for the Machupicchu citadel.
This possibility of boarding the train at Ollantaytambo can
be done early in the morning or in the evenings from Monday to Saturday or Sunday mornings
only. On the other hand, one can also get off at Ollantaytambo on the way back to Cusco
from Machupicchu, and begin to explore the Sacred Valley of the Incas from there.
A former Inca agricultural center, this district of
the province of Urubamba i made up of 10 "Ayllus" or indigenous communities.
Located at 3,762 mete above sea level, Chinchero is 28 km down a modem highway from the
Cusco tourist circuit. It possesses a beautiful Andean landscape and is surrounded by the
year-round snow-capped peaks of Chicón, Wequey Willca (commonly Calle Puna Sillo or
The current town of Chinchero is a blend of Andean and Hispanic architec and is also home
to a unique archaeological complex, with the remains o buildings, places of worship, and
terraces for crops and for foundations.
There is a variety of delicious gastronomic
specialties. Those that stand out are corn-based dishes such as corn-on-the-cob with fresh
cheese, corn cream, tamale pastries and corncake, as well as fried trout, pork fritters
and stuffed chili peppers called "Rocoto". There are also typical drinks such as
chicha de jora (maize beer), white chicha and from November to March, a fruit drink based
on wild strawberries.
HUNTING AND FISHING
River fishing can be done from April to October and
small scale hunting in the surrounding of the valley.
FLORA AND FAUNA
The valley is mainly agricultural, where the finest
corn in Peru is produced, one that is highly nutritious and of excellent quality. The area
also produces varieties of potatoes, cereals, greens and fruits like apples, peaches,
plums and strawberries as well as a variety of decorative plants. The fauna includes a
great variety of animals such as deer, the vizcacha rodent similar to a rabbit, minks,
skunks, foxes and pumas. There are also birds like doves, thrushes, goldfinches and
hummingbirds. The Vilcanota or Urubarnba River is rich in salmon trout and rainbow fish.
It also has plenty of cattle, sheep, pigs and horses.
EXCURSIONS AND TRANSPORT
There are several travel agencies in Cusco which
organize excursions and trips to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and if only transport is
needed, it is recommended to take the tourist services.
Jump to :
Valley and Cusco Tours showroom
This beautiful and suggestive valley between the towns
of Pisaq and Ollantaytambo was greatly admired by Peruvians' ancestors due to its special
conditions such as its beneficial climate, its fertile lands and the presence of the
Wilcamayu or Sacred River.
Andean Man, with the incentive provided by the
qualities granted by Mother earth, built architectural constructions related to
agriculture, which was the ancient Peruvian's main activity.
In this area, the Incas found the perfect place to
leave proof of their intrinsic knowledge of hydraulic engineering and their deep love of
nature. This is why today still stand aqueducts, irrigation canals, the damming of the
Wilcamayu River, imposing sets of terracing and centers of worship of Mother earth or
Pachamama. This is the area called the Sacred Valley of the Incas.
Click on the thumbnail to enlarge MAP