A day trip to the town of Pisac, 2 hours drive from Cusco, was our first glimpse of the Inca’s Sacred Valley. The prevailing feature of the Pisac ruins are the remarkable terracing that turned steep hillsides into flat sections for growing crops. Huge seven foot high terraces rose above the small town below for an upward climb of about 1 mile. It was an impressive sight, and at the top of the mountain lay the ruins of a very impressive temple complex. The natural location itself was beautiful, with the temple in its full glory it must have been magnificent.
This is a view of the temple complex at the top of the mountain above the terraces:
The stone work is so precise, it is a work of art.
One of the extraordinary things about how the Incas build the terraces is that they had no stairway between the levels. Rather, in order to prevent erosion, they installed large flagstones jutting out the the terrace wall to act as a simple to use ladder to climb up to the next terrace.
Here are some pictures of us climbing the stone stairways:
You can see the many various stone steps if you look closely at the photo below:
On our way up the mountain we ran into the remnants of the Incan citadel of Pisac with more great stonework and amazing structures.
After a steep climb up the terraces, we arrived at the Temple of Intihuatana that overlooked the valley below. The stonework and the structures of the temple on top of the mountain are in such great condition compared to many of the Incan ruins, and shadowed by a dramatic mountain in the background, to us, it resembles the scene at Machu Picchu.
We have seen lots of incredible Incan stonework, but at Pisac it was especially impressive that their temple edifices were built directly upon pre-existing granite boulders. They carve into the rock below and then perfectly fit stones on top.
This amazingly carved volcanic boulder was an altar that the Incas used during rituals and sacrifices.
We spent the afternoon roaming the temple, admiring the geometric lines, incredible doors, flowing water fountains, and immaculate constructions.
After visiting the ruins of Pisac, we headed back down to the Peruvian village and strolled through a market with hundreds of vendors. We saw some of the most beautiful textiles and weavings that we had yet encountered.
This lady had sample of the dyes they use for the textiles.