Ollantaytambo Cusco, Inca village of Ollantaytambo, Ollantaytambo and the Sacred Valley of the Incas
Ollantaytambo is located 80 km northeast of Cusco, the point of entry to the Amazon region of Cusco, and where the Vilcanota River changes its name to Urubamba. The location of Ollantaytambo is strategic, for many it is the end point of the sacred valley, it is also considered the gateway to the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, where you can find 2 options: Take the train to Machupicchu Pueblo or Go on foot through the ancient Inca road.
Ollantaytambo, is one of the most monumental architectural complexes of the Inca Empire, it is named after the famous legend about the rebel general Ollantay. Its design as the bases of most of its buildings corresponds to the original stroke of the Inca period (the streets still maintain their Inca names). Its cobblestone streets, canals and the Temple dedicated to Santiago Apóstol built in 1620 are surprising.
It is thought that Ollantaytambo constituted a strategic military, agricultural and religious center to administer and control the Sacred Valley of the Incas; this is deduced by the constructions that presumably were for agricultural deposits and for military use like walls and watchtowers (probably to protect themselves from the jungle ethnic groups). There are 150 steps that separate the summit from the lower part, you can see the perfect carving of the stones, obviously dedicated to the cult of water, with great similarity to those of Tipón. This place is a ceremonial center for water purification and worship. The archaeological site comprises a series of overlapping terraces, impressive are the large finely carved stone blocks located on the upper terrace (Temple of the Sun).
The Inca remains in Ollantaytambo are vestiges of the town that Pachacutec ordered to build, after subduing its inhabitants and conquering these lands, imposing agricultural infrastructure works, composed of hundreds of platforms and channels to secure farmland, checkpoints and vigilance in the tops of the hills, and domestic and ceremonial buildings. They also built a bridge to connect the town with the Inca Trail, and they built urban satellites on the route to Machu Picchu.
The Plaza Manyaraqui with its fountains that are believed to be part of the center to pay homage to the water. On Cerro Pinkuylluna or Tunupa, there are huge stone constructions, of two or three stories, which are presumed to be agricultural deposits (colcas) or lookouts. There is also a huge stone representing the face of an Inca, peeking out at the town.
The town of Ollantaytambo is called “Pueblo Inca Vivo” because its inhabitants live according to uses and customs inherited from their ancestors. From Ollantaytambo, you can visit the village of Willoc, where Quechua is spoken, and whose red and black garments resemble huayruro, a red and black seed used as an amulet. Ollantaytambo is the only Inca city that is still occupied by local families. All the design and structure of the original Inca town is evident in the fifteen blocks that make up the town.
Ollantaytambo has numerous hotels, lodging-houses and restaurants. The trains to Machupicchu stop here, so many tourists prefer to return to Cusco by Bus (which is faster).