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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.


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.



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.



We travelled to the Sacred Valley and the village of Pisac. Located some 45 minutes drive to the north and east of Cusco.

The village itself is a good experience, with a local food market and an artisan market in full swing. So much colours and and  Music. Very tasty foods.

High above the village is one of the best preserved hilltop villages of the pre-conquesta era. Researchers believe that Písac was built around 1440, and defended the southern entrance to the Sacred Valley, as it had religious, military and religious sections.



Qorikancha and Saksaywaman

Today we explored the Qorikancha and Saqsayhuaman.

Qorikancha was the main temple complex in the Cusco city. It was dedicated mostly to the sun god Inti. Pizarro and his men stripped the temple of its gold plating, and then as part of asseting thier rule, they destroyed the temples, burnt the scared mummies of the 14 Incas (Inca ==> king) and  the built a Dominican monastery on the site.

Saqsayhuaman was the military citadel perchech high  (about 350 – 400 meters higher elevation)  above Cusco. Unfortunately Conquistadores have used the stone form the constructions for the 14 churches in the Cusco city.

View of the Cusco city from up there is breathaking.


Cusco – first day

First day in Cusco was spent acclimating to the altitude – 3400 m or 11,200 feet is not a joke.

Today we wondered around, had a a lunch in the main plaza of the old city and then went back to the hotel to sleep off the 41 hour transit.

Old city of Cusco is a very pretty place.


Peru: here we go.

Cloudy and rainy morning at the Canberra airport. The sun is just peeking over the hills, and lights up the clouds. Airport is, as is expected and usual for this time of the moring, busy.

more updates form the other side of this series of flights.