During the early 13th century, the Inca civilization arose from the highlands of Peru. From 1438, they began to conquer lands adjoining the Inca heartland of Cuzco. They created the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. In 1532, the coming of the Spanish conquistadors marked an end to the short-lived Inca Empire.
As the conquistadors plundered what they could, very few things remain of their civilization. From the amazing ancient Inca ruins found in the highlands of South America, visitors can still develop an appreciation of how advanced the Inca were. Here a list of the 10 most attractive establishments of ancient Inca civilization.
Most Attractive Ancient Inca Ruins:
Located high in the Andes, Moray is an Incan agricultural laboratory that was likely used to cultivate resistant and hearty varieties of plants. Several circular terraces could be seen on the site. As the lower terraces have lower temperatures.
The terraces could also be used to study the effects of different climatic conditions on crops. 150 meters (492 feet) is about how deep the deepest crater is with up to 15° C temperature difference between the top and the bottom level.
9. Winay Wayna
Located on the Inca Trail, the site of ‘Winay Wayna’ is built into a hillside overlooking the Urubamba River. It may have served as a rest stop for weary travelers on their way to the famous Machu Picchu just like now.
Connected by a staircase and fountain structures, there are upper and lower house complexes in the Inca ruins of WinayWayna. Adjacent to the houses lies an area of agricultural terraces.
The Coricancha was the most important temple in the Inca Empire. Located in Cuzco, it was originally named IntiKancha, which means ‘Temple of the Sun’. Sheets of solid gold once covered the walls and floors of the temple and golden statues filled the courtyard. But it was severely devastated by the conquistadors like so many other Inca monuments.
The conquistadors built a Christian church named Santo Domingo on top of the ruins. While major earthquakes have severely damaged the church, the Inca stone walls still stand thanks to the sophisticated stone masonry of the Incas. The Inca stone walls were built out of huge, tightly-interlocking blocks of stone.
Llactapata is located at 2,840 meters (9,318 feet) above sea level along the Inca trail. It means “High Town” in Quechua. Manco Inca Yupanqui burned Llactapata during his retreat to discourage Spanish pursuit.
The Spanish never discovered the Inca trail or any of its Inca settlements due to these efforts. Llactapata was probably used for crop production and storage.
6. Isla Del Sol
Located in the southern part of Lake Titicaca, Isla Del Sol (Island of the Sun) is a rocky, hilly island. According to the Inca religion, after the waters of a great flood began to recede, it was the first land that appeared and once again the Sun emerged from the island to illuminate the sky.
The Incas built several sacred sites on the island as they believed it was the birthplace of the Sun God. The Sacred Rock and a labyrinth-like building called Chicana are among these Inca ruins.
Located high above the city of Cusco, Sacsayhuamán is an Inca walled complex. Cusco the imperial city was laid out in the form of a puma, the animal that symbolized the Inca dynasty. The hill of Sacsayhuamán was the head of the puma, the main plaza was the belly, and its spine was formed by the river Tullumayo.
On different levels, three parallel walls were built with limestones of enormous sizes. The zigzagging walls are thought to represent the teeth of the puma’s head. In such a way the Inca wall was built that a single piece of paper will not fit between many of the stones.
Pisac means “partridge” in Quechua. Traditionally the Inca built their cities in the shape of birds and animals, and so Pisac is partridge shaped. A military citadel, religious temples, and individual dwellings are included in this site.
The Inca ruins overlook the Sacred Valley between the Salkantay Mountains. Písac is thought to defend the southern entrance to the Sacred Valley. It also controlled a route that connected the Inca Empire with the border of the rain forest.
Choquequirao means ‘Cradle of Gold‘. Located 3085 meters (10,120 feet) above sea level, Choquequirao sits on the border of Cuzco and Apurimac. 180 terraces made up a staircase configuration in this Inca ruin.
Choquequirao is much larger in the area compared to the Machu Picchu, which was built in a completely different style. Choquequirao is visited much less often than Machu Picchu because one can only travel there by foot or horseback. The trek to Choquequirao from Cachora can take up to four days without the benefit of wheels.
Ollantaytambo was the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti during the Inca Empire. Pachacuti conquered the region and built the town with a ceremonial center. It served as a stronghold for the Inca resistance during the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru.
Being an important tourist attraction, the Inca ruins of Ollantaytambo is one of the most common starting points for hike known as the Inca Trail.
1. Machu Picchu
Machu Pichu is the most beautiful and impressive ancient Inca ruins in the world. In 1911, the Inca ruin was rediscovered by Hawaiian historian Hiram after it lay hidden for centuries above the Urubamba Valley. From the ground, the “Lost City of the Incas” is completely invisible.
Surrounded by agricultural terraces and watered by natural springs, the city is completely self-contained. Even though the city was known locally, it was largely unknown to the outside world before being rediscovered in 1911. Machu Picchu has become the most important tourist attraction in Peru since then.