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All you need to know about the Ollantaytambo Peru

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All you need to know about the Ollantaytambo Peru

Ollantaytambo This is a typical example of the extraordinary urban planning of the Incas, and therefore a must for those interested in this civilization.  

Its cobbled and winding streets, the ruins scattered everywhere and its agricultural terraces are attractions that stand out for themselves. Among the ruins, it is advisable to visit the old fortress and the temple, where we can enjoy magnificent views of the region. 

Is that apart from Ollantaytambo, its views are a particular attraction. The panoramas of the snow-capped mountains with the endless natural landscapes, make up the perfect natural environment to practice archaeological tourism.  

Beautiful where you look, the ruins are a must in the Sacred Valley. Not as spectacular as Machu Picchu, of course, but with little to envy the big city.

  • Inca Ruins: Ollantaytambo is home to impressive Inca ruins that include a fortress and a temple complex. The ruins are situated on a hillside and feature massive stone terraces, granaries, and ceremonial areas. The site is notable for its intricate stone masonry and the large stone blocks used in its construction.
  • Strategic Location: Ollantaytambo holds strategic importance due to its location. It served as a stronghold for the Inca resistance against the Spanish conquistadors during the 16th century. The ruins bear witness to the fierce battles fought during that time.
  • Town and Living Inca City: Ollantaytambo is not just an archaeological site but also a living town. The town itself has a charming atmosphere with narrow cobbled streets and traditional adobe buildings. Many locals still live in houses built on top of original Inca foundations.
  • Gateway to Machu Picchu: Ollantaytambo is an essential stop on the way to Machu Picchu. It serves as a transportation hub where travelers catch the train to Aguas Calientes, the closest town to Machu Picchu. The train ride from Ollantaytambo to Aguas Calientes offers breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys.
  • Ollantaytambo Market: The craft market of Ollantaytambo is one of the popular markets also very recognized and simple to access, because it is situated at the ingress of the archaeological site of Ollantaytambo, in this place is sold crafts of the residents’ areas and also crafts of the high Andean communities that make their way into this market for the sale of their products.
  • This market is open every day, if you desire to take a souvenir of your tour do not hesitate to purchase it here.
  • Hiking and Outdoor Activities: Ollantaytambo is surrounded by stunning natural landscapes, making it a fantastic destination for outdoor enthusiasts. Visitors can enjoy activities such as hiking, horseback riding, and mountain biking in the nearby mountains and valleys.

Ascent to Pinkuylluna 

Pinkuylluna is the hill located east of the town and on its slopes there are archaeological remains. It is a short but steep climb. At the entrance there is a sign that I think more scares that prevents: 

Although it is true that the road has narrow and steep sections, I do not think it can be said of high risk. You have to walk carefully and happily there are parts that have railings that are very helpful. The road is well marked and bifurcates in two, which lead to different parts of the archaeological site. In total I delayed 30 minutes, stopping to take photos for a climb of half a kilometer, with a difference of 200 meters. I arrived until 3010 meters above sea level. 

Because of the little information I could find on the internet, Pinkuylluna were grocery stores. They are located in the hillside and definitely when I walked inside these buildings you feel a change in temperature. In the whole rise the sun fell directly on me, it died of heat but inside the stores it is fresh. 

From Pinkuylluna you can see much better the town of Ollantaytambo 


Ollantaytambo Sacred Valley Tour

In Ollantaytambo it seems that time has stopped, because it still retains the Inca style of narrow streets with water channels and stone walls. It feels total tranquility. Although it receives many visitors, it seems that few people go through it completely because we went through several little-traveled streets. Ollantaytambo was a place of Inca resistance, Manco Inca won the Spanish here but finally had to leave it to take refuge in Vilcabamba

Strolling through the town you will find some restaurants where you can drink the rich chicha. The glass costs less than a dollar and contains almost a liter of this delicious drink. They can accompany the chicha with a salad of onion, rocoto, cheese and tomato with chips brought from height. "This is how chicha is accompanied", say the locals. 


How to get from Cusco to Ollantaytambo  

From Cusco we took an hour and a half to Ollantaytambo, we went with the buses that leave from Grau Avenue with Pavitos Street. The cost was 10 soles. Here also collect buses to Urubamba, all go by Chinchero road. 

Really Cusco and the Sacred Valley have so many places to visit that whenever I come back I can visit something new. Ollantaytambo showed me that being such a tourist place can continue to preserve its tranquility, its traditional architecture, with welcoming people. Definitely if I have to stay one night in Sacred Valley I would stay here. It will be for an upcoming trip.


To get to Ollantaytambo, you have a few transportation options depending on your starting point. Here are the common ways to reach Ollantaytambo:


Cusco by Train

The most popular and convenient way to reach Ollantaytambo is by taking a train from Cusco. There are several train companies that operate routes between Cusco and Ollantaytambo, including PeruRail and Inca Rail. The trains depart from the Poroy or Ollantaytambo train stations in Cusco. The journey takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours, offering scenic views of the Andean landscape.


Cusco by Bus

If you prefer a more budget-friendly option, you can take a bus from Cusco to Ollantaytambo. Buses depart from the Terminal Terrestre in Cusco. The journey by bus takes around 2 to 2.5 hours, depending on the traffic and road conditions.


Machu Picchu

Ollantaytambo is often a stopover for travelers visiting Machu Picchu. To reach Ollantaytambo from Machu Picchu, you can take a train from Aguas Calientes, the town located at the base of Machu Picchu. The train journey from Aguas Calientes to Ollantaytambo takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours.


Private Transportation

If you prefer more flexibility and convenience, you can hire a taxi or arrange for private transportation from Cusco to Ollantaytambo. This option allows you to customize your schedule and make stops along the way.


It's important to note that Ollantaytambo does not have its own airport. The closest major airport is Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport (CUZ) in Cusco.


Whichever mode of transportation you choose, it's recommended to plan your journey in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, as tickets for trains and buses can sell out quickly.


History of Ollantaytambo

Inca Era

Ollantaytambo was originally built by the Incas during the late 15th century. It was strategically located at the intersection of the Urubamba River Valley and the Patakancha Valley, which made it an important administrative, agricultural, and religious center. The Incas constructed impressive stone structures, terraces, and buildings using intricate stone masonry techniques that have stood the test of time.


Temple of the 10 windows

In the religious sector there are two temples. In the "Temple of the 10 windows" all the openings face east towards the rising sun. However, the sun's rays can never shine through the windows, because they are all "blind". There were probably offerings in them.


Temple of the Sun

You can recognize the temple of the sun from the pink stones that come from the opposite mountain. The building elements had to be brought from 6 km away. On the huge stones you can see staircase patterns. This pattern was a symbol for the Incas: the sacred stairs leading to heaven. The 6 huge rocks are connected with incredible accuracy.


Inca Resistance

During the Spanish conquest of Peru in the 16th century, Ollantaytambo became a stronghold of resistance against the Spanish conquistadors. The Incas fought fiercely to defend the fortress, but eventually, they were forced to retreat to Vilcabamba, their last stronghold.


Spanish Colonial Period

After the conquest, the Spanish established their presence in Ollantaytambo and built a colonial town on the existing Inca foundations. Many of these colonial structures can still be seen in Ollantaytambo today.


Importance as a Trade and Transport Hub

Ollantaytambo continued to be an important center during the colonial period due to its strategic location. It served as a hub for trade and transportation between Cusco and the Amazon rainforest. The town's terraced fields were cultivated by local communities, providing agricultural products to the region.

Today, Ollantaytambo stands as a testament to the Inca civilization and the resistance against Spanish colonization. The well-preserved ruins and the colonial town attract tourists from around the world, offering a glimpse into the rich history of the region. Ollantaytambo remains an integral part of the Sacred Valley and an essential stop for visitors en route to Machu Picchu.


Ollantay drama

The "Ollantay" drama, also known as "Ollantay or the Great Captain of the Incas," is a Quechua-language play from the Inca period. It is considered one of the few surviving literary works from the time before Spanish colonization.


"Ollantay" is believed to have been written in the late 15th or early 16th century, during the reign of the Inca emperor Pachacuti. The play tells the story of Ollantay, a high-ranking Inca general, and his forbidden love for Cusi Coyllur, the daughter of the Inca emperor. Their relationship challenges the social order, as Ollantay is not of noble blood.


The drama revolves around themes of love, power, loyalty, and rebellion. Ollantay's love for Cusi Coyllur drives him to challenge the established authority and defy the Inca emperor. The play also explores the tension between personal desires and societal expectations.


The plot of "Ollantay" unfolds with political intrigue, conflicts, and the eventual downfall of the protagonist. The drama is believed to have been performed as a form of entertainment and cultural expression during Inca times. It may have been performed in special ceremonies or events for the Inca nobility and the wider community.


The play was passed down through generations orally, as the Incas did not have a written script. It was eventually transcribed by Spanish priests during the colonial period. Today, "Ollantay" is considered a valuable cultural artifact that provides insights into the literature and theatrical traditions of the Inca civilization.


The drama of "Ollantay" continues to be celebrated and performed in modern times, often as a representation of Inca cultural heritage.



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