Moray was one of the more unusual Inca sites we visited. It's basically a series of big, circular terraces in the middle of nowhere, with an out-of-this-world quality about them. These formed an Incan experimental farm; as the terraces descend into the centre of each circular formation they present a subtly different micor-climate from the previous terrace. This technology allowed the old Inca farmers to study the effect of altitude on different plants and to experiment with different varieties of plants to improve their crops.
The site is signposted from the road that leaves the main road through the valley near Urubamba
As upper terminus of our Sacred Valley horse back ride were the terraces of Moray, which are constructed in imbedded circles deep in a depression in the ground. According to some, the annual temperature difference between the ground at the bottom of the circles and the highest terrace is 15 degrees celcius -- the difference between Rome and London! This climactic difference has led some archeaologists to believe that these terraces were used by the Incas to expirement in different crop varieties. But, really, no one knows.
Sarah and I followed our guide, Juan Carlos, to the bottom of the circles and then climbed out -- feeling the altitude all the way. If you look closely at the picture, you can see the three of us -- plus the dog.
Moray is another off the beaten path only a short drive away from Cusco.
During the Inca Empire, it used to be an agricultural experimental Inca site: as they conquered the different countries and regions, they brought back different fruits and vegetables which grew at different altitudes and in different climates. For these to slowly adapt to their local climate, they would then plant them in the center, i.e. in the lowest and warmest level. Little by little they would move them up a level, and another, and another until the plant was thus completely adapted to its new environment.
Visiting Moray with a local guide, will teach you a lot of interesting things about the very advanced Inca agriculture and culture in general.
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