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Ollantaytambo  

This compilation picture of two photographs shows the immensity of size and power of Ollantaytambo

 

Inca Factoid

• Incas had no draft animals or beasts of burden

• Incas had no concept of the wheel

• Incas had no written language

• Incas had no written arithmetic, yet understood the concept of zero, as well a decimals

• Trapezoidal shape doors and windows reduce earthquake damage

• Llamas and alpacas are descendants of the camel. Llama wool is strong and a little rough, and has been used for centuries to make rope, blankets and heavy clothing.  Alpaca wool is very fine and woven to make soft clothing, especially sweaters.

Strategically placed at the north end of the Sacred Valley is Ollantaytambo (pronounced:  oy-yeah-tay-TOM-bo), said to be named for a local chieftain.  The original  inhabitants of the area, the Tampas, built the fortress as a bulwark against the invading Antis, a savage jungle tribe who were never subdued by the Incas.  Built in a formidable natural setting, the fortress was used by the last Inca, Manco Inca, in the last of the great battles against the Spanish Conquistadors, and was so  well planned and so immense that it took the Spanish by surprise when they arrived in search of Manco Inca during the early 1500's.

Ollantaytambo is perhaps the best preserved of all the Inca settlements.  The old walls of the houses are still standing, and water still runs through the original channels in the narrow streets which are believed to date from the 15th century.  The elegant and intricate walled complex contains seven rose colored granite monoliths which still puzzle scientists today, believing that the stone was not mined in the valley.  Ollantaytambo also has plazas with sacred niches, shrines, an area of stone stocks where prisoners were tied by their hands, and ritual shower areas, including the Princess's Bath, or Bano de la Nusta.  A steep stairway enters the group of buildings, among which the best known is the Temple of the Sun — an unfinished construction in front of a wall of enormous boulders.  Portions of the original carvings on these huge stones can still be seen, although it is unclear if they really are pumas, as some claim.  It is speculated that thousands of workers toiled many years building the stronghold with ropes and levers, moving the massive stones, some up to 100 tons, from the stone quarries three miles across the valley.

Ken Sumiec views the east side of the immense fortress grounds

Tourists are easy prey for fun-loving children.  Here a young boy  and his musical entourage shows Lee Lambie a Peruvian dance

 

Built in a formidable natural setting, Ollantaytambo is perhaps the best preserved of all the Inca settlements

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