Ollantaytambo is a small town in the Sacred Valley, and it is here that we chose to pass a few days before heading off on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu. We had our first pisco sour, the national drink of Peru, in Ollantaytambo’s Plaza de Armas. The town is small but the Incan ruins are abundant. The narrow cobblestone streets are prime demonstrations of Incan city planning. Throughout many of the older streets run irrigation canals through which constantly flows a fresh supply of river water.
Towering over the city below is the Incan fort of Ollantyatambo. The great terraces built on the hillside lead up to a remarkable ruins and an unfinished temple build at the top. Although it was originally built as a ceremonal center, this site served as a stronghold for Manco Inca as he fought the Spanish. The Incan’s solitary victory against the Spanish was achieved at Ollantaytambo.
One of the areas that we found most intriguing was at the base of the fort. Carved into the massive volanic rocks were various stairs and ledges. Although we couldn’t guess at the use of such structures, it was an impressive display of craftsmanship. Various fountains and canals were also in this area and throughout the ruins.
Like all religious or royal ruins of the Incas, this fort afforded great views of the surrounding valley and we were amazed by the dramatic mountainsides surrounding us. The work that went into the creation of these structures high up on steep slopes is remarkable.