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Ollantaytambo – An Emperor’s Home And The Last Stop Before Machu Pichu

by on June 23, 2012

in Peru

Ollantaytambo was built for an Incan emperor. What remains is an impressive site with the emperor’s face indelibly watching the city.

Face Carving

For me, the most impressive thing about Ollantaytambo is the carving of the Inca Emperor’s face into the mountain. The length of the face is about 30ft/10m. It’s a wonder how the carvers hung there to carve.

Unfortunately, it’s not easy to spot. I circled it in red below.

The Face Of An Incan King And Store Houses To The Right

The Face Of An Incan King And Store Houses To The Right

Agricultural Terraces

The scale of the agricultural terraces is immense and dominates the site. Scaling them is a decent workout, but the views are amazing.

The site is only 2800m/9200ft high, relatively low by Cusco standards, and the Incas could plant and grow a variety of crops using these terraces.

The Site

The site itself is much bigger than it seems.

Below you can see the king’s throne. On June 24th, when winter solstice is celebrated by the Incas, the sun would shine exactly on that spot during sunrise.

The six monoliths are part of an unfinished temple to the sun god, Inti.

Otherwise, some other pictures from this interesting and impressive site.

The Town Of Ollantaytambo

The Town Of Ollantaytambo

How To Say God In Quechua

Below is a video of a guide explaining how to say god in Quechua. You’ll hear a long string of syllables and that’s it. He also explains the face in the mountain in English.

Next Up

I didn’t hike the Inca trail because you need to reserve a spot months in advance. The Inca trail usually departs from Ollantaytamba. In my case, I took the train from here to Machu Pichu, which is coming up next…

Train Tickets To Machu Pichu

Train Tickets To Machu Pichu

About Adam Pervez

In mid-2011 I left my cushy corporate job and took the plunge into a life incorporating my passions of traveling, writing, volunteering, learning, educating, and telling stories. I study what happiness means to others, offer what I can from my engineering/MBA background as a volunteer, and try to leave each place better than how I found it. Read more.

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Deborah Lucas June 23, 2012 at 9:30 am

Hi! I really have enjoyed following your travels! Lakewood is not as exciting as Ollantaytamba. My cousin Laura Sheahen blogs n photos for Caritas. She has been to almost all refuge camps. Fortunately she is out of sudan n back in Rome Thanks for being out there in the world n be safe! D Dawson


Adam Pervez June 23, 2012 at 12:35 pm

Thanks so much! Your cousin is very inspirational! I was just back in Cleveland and Lakewood is still very exciting, but in a different way :) You stay safe as well!


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