The Inca ruins at Ollantaytambo consist of some spectacular terracing up the steep hillside, and at the top of this a temple site - apparently! I must confess we didn't climb all the way up.
At the foot of the terraces are various other temples and a well-preserved (or restored?) Inca fountain. Despite the fairly large number of tourists and a group of local school children on an educational tour, I found the atmosphere here very peaceful, perhaps because of the stream running through the site and a number of small pools. On the hillside opposite the ruins you can spot Inca granaries carved out of the rock.
Don't forget your "Boleto Turistico" which you'll need for entry to the ruins. And while you're here please do take the time to explore the village too - it's built on Inca foundations and the houses are very traditional and worth a closer look. See my "Off the beaten path" tip for more information.
Ollantaytambo, resting place of the Inca general Ollantay, was my favorite place in the Sacred Valley. Another temple/fortress in a beautiful valley surrounded by mountains. It was built by the Inca Pachacutec. Quite an engineering feat, considering the rock quarry was across the valley at about the same height as the citadel itself. This is a popular site, as you can see from the people in the picture. We were stopped for 45 minutes when we tried to leave in a gridlock of tour buses. However, this place is worth it.
If you climb the 200 steps to the top of the citadel, you can enjoy views like this one. One wonders if Ollantay ever stood here himself. His story is tragic but has a happy ending.
Ollantay was an Incan general who secretly fell in love with Kusi Qoyllur, the daughter of the Inca Pachacutec. After Ollantay distinguished himself in battle, the Inca offered him anything he wanted. Ollantay asked for the hand of his daughter in marriage. This was blasphemy in their rigid class society and Ollantay had to flee to the citadel, Ollantaytambo. Pachacutec had his own daughter entombed alive with the child she had had with Ollantay, with only food and water to keep them from dying in order to prolong their agony.
Ollantay rebelled and during the subsequent war, Pachacutec died. His son, Thupaq Yupanki and General Rumi Nawi eventually defeated Ollantay and enslaved him. However, when Thupaq Yupanki found his semi-dead sister, who had been in the live-in tomb for fifteen years with his niece, he decided there had been enough suffering and re-united Ollantay with his family.
Ollantaytambo is a fantastic fortress, located on the scarpments of the east side of the Urubamba Valley is built with the characteristic incaic architecture, massive, accurate, almost perfect.
The design of the site is an example of strategical and tactical wise, so much that the spaniards were obligued to a monumental investment in lifes and military resources along years to defeat the last kechua bastion.
At all, here happen the hindermost big battle between the Spaniard Empire and the Inca Empire as they was in essence.
The struggle between two opposed worlds.
Ollantaytambo is a town which is in the western part of the sacred valley. It takes about 2.5 hours to get here by bus from Cusco.
What is amazing is that some of the Incan structures in town are still used today by people. You can see houses built on top of dark pink Incan rock walls. The town itself is a great surviving example of how the Incans arranged their towns. The towns are divided into blocks called cunchas. Each block has a large stone doorway that leads to a courtyard. Houses surround this central courtyard.
The fortress at Ollantaytambo is magnificent. It was built into a mountainside to be used for defense and religious purposes. The fortress itself is made up of stepped terraces made of massive stone. Climbing about 200 steps up you get a nice view and a sense of breathlessness if you are not used to the altitude. Our guide said these huge stone were moved from quarries from the opposite hillside. To get the rock to the final site, workers used a system of rollers, ramps and slopes. In addition, they used rocks to divert the river to help with the transport of the stone.
Our guide told us of a beautiful Quencha legend that surrounds the site, which is put on as a play in Peru. As the story goes, a general of the army named Ollanta fell in love with the rulers daughter Kusi. After winning numerous battles, the ruler Pachacutec offered the general anything he wanted. Ollanta asked for Kusi’s hand in marriage. It was sacrilegious for people in different casts to marry. Ollanta was forced to leave and Kusi was jailed with her son. Ollanta gathered forces and started a rebellion which lasted 10 years. Ollanta was eventually defeated and enslaved. When Ollanta was taken, Pachacutec had just died and Pachacutec’s son took over. Pachacutec’s son listened to the story of the two lovers and granted a pardon and allowed their marriage. The two lovers then lived happily with their child.
This is one of the most important site of the sacred valley of Cusco, and, absolutely my favourite one.
The particularity of Ollaytatambo is that here Pizarro, el conquistadores espanol, lost again the Incas.
His big and amazing terraces makes the site so huge and it seems to smell the history...
The entry fee for this site is USD 2,00 and to reach it i'd suggest to pick up a taxi, or check my "the cheapest way to visit CUsco are " tip.
Incas thought that hard work was a good way of living. That is how they built this terraces in the mountains. They wanted to use everything that Pacha Mama gave to them.
They didnt just work flat land... DONT MISS THIS SPOT! Beautifull scenery and incredible lesson about Incas cosmovision.
our the archaeological site of Ollantaytambo. At the top of the sixteen massive terraces are the ever-impressive ruins of Ollantaytambo Fortress where the Inca fought some of their strongest battles. Huge and precisely carved stones were transported by hundreds of men down one mountain range to Ollantaytambo and fitted perfectly to support this strategic fortress that has bared the test of time.
Ollantaytambo is a stunning Inca fortress that is located in the Sacred Valley. It is particularly famous for it's stunning terraces that line the walls of the valley leading towards the top of hill that dominates the valley. The terraces were so successful that is is one of the few places where the Incas could repel the invading Spanish. The fortress served both as an administrive centre and as a spiritual retreat. Ollantaytambo is crowned by an unfinished temple dedicated to sun worship. The fortress is also remarkable for its huge impressive stone work. These stones where transported to Ollantaytambo from a quarry 6km away, an amazing feat.
I visited Ollantaytambo on a bus tour from Cusco. This is probably the easiest way of visiting however, I do understand that you can see by way of regular bus from there. Admission was included on the Cusco Tourist Ticket. The town of Ollantaytambo seemed quite interesting and I wished I had actually travelled here independently. There is suppose to be a good museum and some local colonial houses worth visiting.
Every organised trip to the Valle Sagrado makes a stop at the ruins of Ollantaytambo. (18 Soles excluding lunch)
If you are interested in other cultures and the Incas, it's definitly a wonderful day-trip.
Ollantaytambo is the name of a small town and an Inca archaeological site on the Urubamba River, about 60 kilometers northwest of Cusco. It is located at an altitude of almost 2,800 metres above sea level and is the most popular site in the Sacred Valley. It was built by the Incan emperor Pachacuti in the middle 1400's. He also constructed extensive terraces and established an irrigation system in the Urubamba Valley.
During the Spanish invasion of Peru the site was used as a fortress by the Inca resistance against the conquistadors. in 1536 they defeated the Spanish by halting their advance and flooding the plain. The site was abandoned shortly after.
The terraces of Ollantaytambo are built to a higher standard to most with smooth high walls of cut stone compared with the normal rough stone. On top of the terraces is the unfinished Sun Temple. The huge stones were quarried from a site across the river - what an amazing feat to transport them.
One the mountains across from the terraces there are remains of Inca storehouses.
Entrance is with the Tourist Ticket.
This is the last city you can reach traveling by bus, car or combi from Cuzco, after that you´ll have to continue by expensive train or on foot following the railway.
The foundations of the buildings remins the inca culture, but the rest of the architecture is once again colonial. One of the most bloody battle of the spanish conquering process took place here, and the spanish loose!!!! Inca warriors rule!! Tupac Amaru lives!!
Price: Only with Boleto Turistico
Ollantaytambo is a small town on the Urubamba River. It offers guesthouse style accommodation and has quite a good tourist market.
ile famous for its amazing Inca ruins it is also the starting point for Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
The tourist train to Aguas Calientes leaves from Ollantaytambo
In the 15th century, the town of Ollantaytambo became part of the Incan Emperor's estate. The emperor intended for the town to become an important ceremonial centre, but when the Spaniards invaded the region, the impressive religious structures built in the mountains played a fortress-like role and became the seat of the Inca resistance. The Incas actually managed to win a battle and fend off the Spanish forces for a while, but their victory was short lived. When the Spaniards returned with an impressive cavalry (the Incas had never seen horses before), they forced the Incas to abandon the site and retreat to the jungle.
We visited the Inca site of Ollantaytambo early in the morning - the site is open from 7:00 am to 5:00 pm - and our visit began with a rather steep climb up Temple Hill, which derives its name from the ceremonial stuctures built at the top, including the Temple of the Sun. Most of the structures were never completed, but what does exist makes it possible to see how important the site was intended to be. The massive temple stones were hauled from a quarry located about 5 km from Ollantaytambo. Even though archeologists have a pretty good idea of the technique used by the Incas to accomplish such a feat, it remains astonishing to think they actually managed to do it, especially when you look at the six huge monoliths that form a wall in the Temple area. Ceremonial baths were also built at the bottom of Temple Hill, using a natural spring. As with most Inca sites, Ollantaytambo is home to several terraces that were used for agriculture, as well as storage facilities built on the hillside facing Temple Hill.
We stopped at Ollyantaytambo on our way back to Cusco from Aguascalientes. It's a short train ride away and from there we were able to take a taxi back to Cusco to catch our flight to Lima. Ollyantaytambo is a small village located at the base of the ruins. Walk around the grid-like streets of the town, which are lined with hanging red flags indicating "chicha" is brewed there, and get a feel for local life. The ancient Incan aqueduct still brings water through the town.