The day after getting back to Cusco I booked a tour of the Sacred Valley, the main reason I wanted to tour the Sacred Valley was to see the ruins at Ollantaytambo. The trains to and from Aguas Calientes / Little Machu Picchu stop at Ollantaytambo and you can actually stay there before going to Machu Picchu. Something I wish I had done is taken the train to Ollantaytambo, stayed a night or two and explored the ruins and town there, and then the train to Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu.
The tour started at this Llama place, it seemed built for tourists but was actually well done. They had all the different varieties of Llama. So Llama's are in the Camel family of species. The Vicuna genus/type is considered the original Llama from which all Llama's descended, and their fleece is considered the best and therefore very very expensive. They actually have to kill the Vicuna to get the fleece. So the domesticated version of the Vicuna is the Lama and they are thought to have been domesticated 5500 years ago. So there has been plenty of time for all the different varieties adapt through selective breeding, for different types of fleece for example. Lama's were considered sacred by the Inca, they provided fleece for clothes, milk, meat, they could carry things. Also keep in mind that the Inca didn't invent or use the wheel, man power was the way they moved things around, the Llama was also viewed as a beast of burden. Perhaps the fact they had allot of practise in using man power that they felt confident to move and place huge rocks that we seen in many of their ruins.
|I found this sign very interesting.|
We then went on to an area where they demonstrated their ways of dyeing.
|This is the color that Cochineal naturally produces|
|The same Cochineal color can be turned in to other colors by adding other things.|
|The valley was called the Sacred Valley by the Inca because of how fertile it was and production of so many different varieties of corn and potatoes.|
|The Sacred Valley|
|This man was shaping bit of shell to fit in to this piece. He would sand the shell against the spinning wheel in the middle and then bring it back to see if it would fit in the place where he wants it to go.|
The following is Ollantaytambo. If you want to pronounce it like Peruvians the double L (ll) is pronounced like a 'jah' and 'yah' at the same time. For example Lllama is 'yah-mah'. So for Ollantaytambo its Oyahan-tay-tahm-bo.
The Inca had a system of roads and Inn's called Tambo. To give you an idea of the Incan way, there where only ever about 100,000 Inca and most of them where in Cusco. What they did is subjugated people, so they would go to a people and ask for their allegiance otherwise they would make life difficult for them. But when people would join the Inca they would become part of the large network of the empire, so if you were keen on working with metal you could go to Cusco where all the best work in metal was happening. Or if you were a farmer you could actually get to go to another land within the Incan empire and farm on that land and they let you keep the profits. The way the Inca taxed the people was through military service, so the people paid taxes by serving in the army. As a result they built a huge system of roads and buildings called Tambo where anyone travelling on those roads could find lodging and food. So Ollantaytambo = The Tambo of Ollantay.
At Ollantaytambo three valleys meet, it was a strategic location for the military. A man called Manco Inca Yupanqui made it his fortress and defeated the Spanish in 1537 'Battle of Ollantaytambo'.
|The start of the temple. The rocks used here where actually quarried out of that mountain in the distance, somehow they got them down the mountain and across the river and then up this mountain.|