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Andahuaylillas is a town about 45km South of Cusco, on the Cusco-Puna road

What is here

The church in Andahuaylillas is dedicated to San Perdo Apostole (Saint Peter the Apostle) is the main attraction of the town. The church in Andahuaylillas is a prime example of “Adean Baroque”, and is nicknamed “the Sistine Chapel of America” because of the magnificent frescos that adorn its walls.

While we were visiting the town, there was a religious fiesta being held in form the the church. The fiesta was in the honour of “Senor de Qolloriti”. This religious festival takes place on the full moon before the Corpus Christi holiday and has much more complicated roots, as if often the case with religious festivals in this part of the world.


Pikillacta ruins


Pikillacta site is Located near the village of Huacarpay, overlooking Laguna de Huacarpay.
The archaeological site is located about 30 km East and South of Cusco, along Cuso-Puna road.

What is here

Pikillacta is one of many archaeological sites located in the “Southern Cusco Valley”. What makes this site significant is that the Pikillacta or Pikillaqta was a fortified town or village of the pre-Inca Wari people. The site was occupied from about 550 to 1100AD. The city is believed to be incomplete at the time it was abandoned. The ruins were discovered by Luis Valcarcel discovered in 1927, but major excavations and research were done by Gordon McEwan who led three major expeditions in 1978-79, 1981-82 and 1989-90.


Tipon terraces


Tipon is a a set of terraces locates about 30km South-west of Cusco, along the Cusco-Puna road.

What is here

This complex is an Inca site. What is important about this site, is that part form stunning terraces, there is also a largely intact and working Inca irrigation system that captures the water the a spring above the terraces and channels it into a number of irrigation-drainage channels.

Archeologists think that just like the Maras-Moray site, this set of terraces was also a crop adaptation and hybridisation site.


Maras Salt Ponds


Maras salt ponds or mines are located 40 kilometers north of Cusco, in Peru.

What is it

Since pre-Inca times, salt has been obtained in the Maras area by evaporating salty water from a local subterranean stream.
The highly salty water emerges at a spring, a natural outlet of the underground stream. The flow is directed into an intricate system of tiny channels constructed so that the water runs gradually down onto the several hundred ancient terraced ponds. These ponds form a spectacular mosaic of polygon shapes and colours.


Moray terraces

This site is located near the town or Maras, and it is a “must see” as far as Inca archeological sites go. Here there are a number of large circular terraces, deepest of which is approximately 30 meters or so.

The purpose of these depressions is uncertain, but their depth, design, and orientation with respect to wind and sun creates a temperature difference of as much as 15 °C (27 °F) between the top and the bottom.

It is possible that this large temperature difference was used by the Inca to study the effects of different climatic conditions on crops. This speculation about the site has led to discussion about Moray as an Inca agricultural experiment station.


Rest Day in Cusco

Rest Day

Today was a slow and restful day in Cusco.
We slept in a bit and then wandered around in search of cool things to inflict on various people.


Seminario ceramic arts studio and workshop

Second stop of today was the ceramic workshop and studios established and run by Pablo Seminario and his wife Marilú Behar.

The Seminario studios are located in the town of Urumbamba, in the Sacred Valley. The centre is dedicated to research and experimentation with the ceramic arts and techniques of the pre-Columbian cultures of Peru.

The quality of work is such that both the Cusco Museum of Pre-Columbian Art (MAP) and the Chicago Field Museum have acquired pieces from the studio.

While we were there, master Seminario was very kind and took the time to answer many of our questions and also gave us an in depth explanation of the current director of his work, as well as his life-long work and research into ceramics of the pre-Columbian cultures of Peru.


Chinchero textile centre

First stop of the day today was the “Balcon del Inca” in Chichero.

Balcon del Inca is a traditional crafts centre specialising in traditional textile manufacure using llama, alpaca and sheep wool and natural dyes, used in this region since the pre-Inca times.

This is a great place to pick up a locally made llama or alpaca wool jumper or a scarf.



Today we had a very early start – Managed to be in first 3 bus-loads of visitors to depart Aguas Callientes (also known as Machupicchu Pueblo) for the Machupicchu site.

Machupicchu complex is believed to have been built during the reign of the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). It was abandoned before the spanish conquest in the 1500’s and only “rediscovered” by the outside world in 1911. There are many theories as to the nature of the site, but regardless of the original purpose and the reasons for eventual abandonment, Machupicchu is a stunning town planning and civil engineering feat.



The village of Ollantaytambo is where the roads end and where we boarded a train to reach Aguas Callientes (also known as Machupicchu Pueblo) , the township at the foot of the of ridge where the ancient city is located.

The whole area of Ollantaytambo village and fortress is a mid 15th century construction when the Pachacutec Inca conquered the area and added this strategic location to his personal estates. The village on the flat is still inhabited by people to this day.   This village is a site of one of the few victories by the Inca over the Spaniards, when in In 1536, on the plain of Mascabamba, near Ollantaytambo, Manco Inca defeated a Spanish expedition, blocking their advance from a set of high terraces and flooding the plain. The victory blocked further Spanish advance along the Urubamba River valley.

The temple complex at Ollantaytambo was approximately 40 to 50% complete by the time the Spanish came, but all the same the workmanship of the completed temple walls was  superb.