Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley: An architectural marvel on the way to Machu Picchu

Reading : 3 min January 26 2023

Ollantaytambo is a 15th-century Inca site located in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Peru, at almost 9,000 feet altitude. It is a popular destination for tourists seeking to explore Peru's ancient history. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited settlements in South America and a perfect example of Inca architecture. 

 The site is composed of two parts: the village of Ollantaytambo and the ruins of the royal estate of the Inca emperor Pachacuti. The village of Ollantaytambo is a charming mountain town, with cobblestone streets and adobe houses.

Ollantaytambo is also home to a 15th-century Inca fortress, which is the largest and most well-preserved of its kind. The fortress is surrounded by terraced hillsides, which were used to create agricultural terraces. The ruins of the royal estate of Pachacuti include a temple, palace, and other structures. These ruins are located on top of a hill overlooking the valley. From here, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views and the stunning mountains in this magical place.

Ollantaytambo is fascinating in every possible way. Travelers can learn about customs, traditions, and history by visiting the fortress, the iconic Sun Gate and strolling around the town. Ollantaytambo is a must-see for anyone visiting the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

How was Ollantaytambo built?

Ollantaytambo is an ancient Inca fortress that was built in the 15th century as part of the Tahuantinsuyo Empire, and is very well-preserved, as its imposing stone walls and terraces.

The construction of Ollantaytambo began in the reign of the ninth Inca ruler, Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui. Pachacuti was responsible for expanding the Inca Empire, and he ordered the construction of Ollantaytambo to serve as a military fortress and religious center. The fortress was built on the side of a mountain, and was designed to be easily defended. It was constructed using massive stone blocks, which were transported from the nearby mountain quarries. The blocks were cut to fit perfectly and fitted together without the use of mortar, in the classic Inca stone masonry style.

The most impressive feature of Ollantaytambo is its terraces, which were constructed to provide additional defenses for the fortress. The terraces were built with hundreds of stone blocks and in a series of stepped levels. They were used to create an artificial landscape, and were designed to protect the fortress from floods and landslides. The terraces were also used to cultivate crops and to store water.

Ollantaytambo contains several other impressive features, such as a palace and the Sun Gate, which is located at the highest point of the ruins. The Sun Gate was an entrance to the royal estate, and it is believed to have been used by Inca rulers to enter the estate. The Sun Gate is a must-see for visitors.

The palace was a residence for the Inca rulers and was designed to be opulent and luxurious. The temple was dedicated to the Sun God, Inti, and was used as a place of worship and spiritual guidance. The Temple of the Sun was used to observe the sun and its movements, and to determine the religious and agricultural celebrations of the Incas.

Ollantaytambo shows the engineering and architectural skills of the Incas, and it is a great choice for visiting once you are in Cusco. 

Interesting facts about Ollantaytambo Ruins

The ruins of Ollantaytambo are truly fascinating, with many interesting facts to explore, and we wanna share with you five interesting facts about this great archeological site.

  1. Ollantaytambo was built around 1450 by the Inca emperor, Pachacuti. The city was designed in the classical Inca style, with terraced hillsides and a large stone fortress at its center. The city was a stronghold of the Inca Empire, and Pachacuti used it as a base for military campaigns.

  2. The ruins of Ollantaytambo are a UNESCO World Heritage Site. They are considered to be one of the most important archaeological sites in Peru, and are a testament to the engineering and architectural skills of the Inca people.

  3. The ruins of Ollantaytambo are made up of two main parts. The first is the terraced hillsides, which were used for agricultural and military purposes. The second is the fortress, which was the residence of the Inca emperor and his court. The fortress is made up of three massive, interconnected stone structures, and is surrounded by a network of defensive walls and towers.

  4. The ruins of Ollantaytambo are a popular tourist attraction. Visitors can explore the terraced hillsides, the fortress, and the nearby Inca Trail. The ruins also provide a great opportunity to learn about the history and culture of the Inca people.

  5. Ollantaytambo was the site of a famous battle between the Inca and Spanish forces during the Spanish conquest. The Incas were defeated, but their courage and defense of the city has become an important symbol of cultural and national pride for the people of Peru.

The ruins of Ollantaytambo are a fascinating site with a long and rich history. From its construction by the Inca emperor to its role in the Spanish conquest, the ruins of Ollantaytambo have much to teach us about the past. As a living example of Inca architecture, Ollantaytambo is a place you must visit on your trip to Cusco. Explore our tourist packages and choose the best one for you.

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