Tuesday, December 22, 2015



Ollantaytambo – Best Remaining Example of Inca Town Planning

Ollantaytambo, an attractive town is situated towards the western side of the Sacred Valley, around two and a half hours journey by bus from Cusco. The town is on top of the original Inca foundations and is one of the best remaining examples of Inca town planning.

It is divided in blocks or canchas which are completely undamaged. Each of the blocks have only a single entrance that tends to lead into a central courtyard and the houses seem to surround the courtyard. Controlled by two huge Inca ruins, the village of Ollantaytambo also known to the locals as well as the visitors as Ollanta is the best example of Inca city planning with narrow cobblestone streets which have been constantly inhabited since the 13th century.

Ollanta is an amazing place and is perfect for exploring the mazy narrow byways, stone buildings and babbling irrigation channels that takes you back in time. Moreover it also provides access for good hiking as well as biking. The town is placed at the foot of remarkable Inca ruins that protects the planned entrance of the lower Urubamba Valley and the temple area is towards the top of steep terracing.

Excellent Defence for the Town

This has provided an excellent defence for the town where the stones for these buildings was brought from a quarry high up from the opposite end of the Urubamba River. The complex was still under construction during the time of the conquest and has never seemed to be completed.

After the defeat of Manco Inca by the Spanish at Sacsayhuaman followed by the unsuccessful siege of Cusco he withdrew to Ollantaytambo. In order to capture Manco Inca, Hernando, the younger brother of Francisco Pizarro led a force of 70 cavalry, 30 foot soldiers together with a large contingent of natives.

The Inca’s forces that were joined by the neighbouring jungle tribes, showered down arrows, spears as well as rocks on the unfortunate Spanish troops. In a smart move, the Inca flooded the plains below their stronghold and made the movement difficult for the horses wherein Hernando unexpectedly ordered a hasty withdrawal. The only place which resisted attacks from the Spanish was Ollantaytambo.

Qollqas Featuring Ventilation Systems

The Incas had built many storehouses out of fieldstones over the hills surrounding Ollantaytambo with their locations at high altitudes. This provided more wind and lower temperature thus saved their contents from being decayed. Furthermore, the Ollantaytambo qollqas featured ventilation systems which are believed to be utilised to store the production of the agricultural terraces that were built around the place.

 It was said that grains were poured through the windows on the uphill area of each building and emptied through the downhill side window. Presently Ollantaytambo is suffering for being an access for Cuzco and the jungle since there does not seems to be any alternate roads. Big semi-trucks as well as buses pass through the narrow main streets. Locals are concerned with the disruption of town life as well as the effect of extreme exhaust on the ruins and talks on alternative road does not seems to take any positive turn.

Ollantaytambo tends to have some of the oldest constantly occupied buildings in South America. Being a stronghold of Inca resistance, once upon a time, it seems to be strangely well preserved. Several of the tourist visits Ollantaytambo since it is the beginning of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu and the ruins seems to be very fascinating.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.