Ollantaytambo: The Living Inca City at the Heart of Sacred Valley
Nestled within the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Cusco, Ollantaytambo stands as a living testament to the ancient Inca civilization. This remarkable town is the only place that has preserved its original Inca urban design, making it a must-visit destination before reaching the awe-inspiring Machu Picchu
. Rich in history and charm, Ollantaytambo exudes the aura of an ancient Inca captain, Ollanta, whose name inspires the town's Quechua moniker. As you traverse the cobbled streets and encounter Inca architecture entwined with colonial squares, you'll realize why Ollantaytambo holds such reverence among the Peruvian Andes.
Ollantaytambo is situated at the opposite end of Pisac, approximately 80 kilometers from the city of Cusco. With an elevation of 2,700 meters above sea level, this historic town boasts some of the most remarkable Inca structures in Peru. Its Quechua name, 'Ulla-nta-wi,' translates to "place to see down," while the Spanish derivative 'Tambo' signifies a city offering comfort and sustenance for travelers.
At the heart of Ollantaytambo lies its mesmerizing archaeological complex—a center of military, religious, and agricultural significance. Revered for its sheer size, originality, and intricate detailing, this ancient Inca site showcases the ingenuity of its creators. Wander through the well-preserved structures, and you'll be transported back in time to the glory of the Inca empire.
A Historic Haven of Resilience
Ollantaytambo has a unique distinction—it is the oldest inhabited Inca town in Peru. For over 700 years, its cobblestone alleys have been continuously graced by its inhabitants. Explore the narrow streets, immerse yourself in the vibrant culture, and capture the essence of local life that has endured through centuries.
A Pivotal Role in Inca History
In the mid-15th century, Inca emperor Pachacuti transformed Ollantaytambo into a grand estate with lavish constructions and terraces for farming. Later, it served as a temporary capital for Manco Inca, who led a brave resistance against Spanish conquest. Although the Spanish took control, Ollantaytambo's legacy as a haven of Inca heritage prevailed.