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The Global Travel Guide For Genuine Adventurers!

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Here we present the world`s biggest mysteries. Humans` search lead to the most amazing experiences, explorations and discoveries.

Exploration of the mysterious Pre-Inca megalithic stonework at Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, Peru!

When the Inca Empire fell, the Incas took many of their mysteries with them. One of the greatest mysteries is found at Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, Peru. Ollantaytambo is a massive citadel located about 50 kilometres from Machu Picchu, but it was also built for serving a higher purpose than this. It was far beyond my imagination when tried to understand how the Incas could be able to bring such gigantic blocks of stone to the top of the mountain from the quarries many kilometres away, and how have they shaped the stones to fit so well together? And perhaps the biggest question: what was the purpose of this construction? Why did the people in ancient time make so big efforts to build this amazing wonder of world?
Photo. The megalithic wall at the pre-Inca site of Ollantaytambo. © Travel Explorations.

The purpose of the construction
Ollantaytambo is located at the northern end of the Sacred Valley. The citadel served both as a temple and a fortress. At some time unknown, and for reasons unknown, the amazing building work stopped. If we knew the Inca's plan from this period, we could probably have some ideas about how it had looked if they had carried out their ambitious project.

Ollantaytambo is a town in the Sacred Valley of the Incas near Cuzco in the Southern Sierra region of Peru. This is where the Incas retreated after the Spanish took Cuzco. Much of the town is laid out in the same way as it was in Inca times.

The huge and steep terraces that form the outer defences of the fortress, successfully repelled a Spanish attack in 1536. Actually Ollantaytambo was not meant to be a fortress, but rather an agricultural, religious and administrative centre.

I wanted so much to admire the big stones on the top of the mountain and the great curved terraces in the middle of the mountain. It was a hard to climb the steps under the hot sun. The entry into Ollantaytambo is in itself interesting. There is a set of terraces leading up the mountainside and from the top there is a wonderful view of the valley.

To the left of these terraces are the principal religious structures, including the famous unfinished Temple of the Sun. It has been made of enormous slabs of pink rhyolite that were quarried on a mountain opposite the site, and then transported down this mountain, across a valley and a river, and so the way up to the top of the mountain in Ollantaytambo.

Photo. Incredible stone work by the Incas. How have they transported and shaped these huge stones?
© Travel Explorations.

Astronomical observations and solar clock
The site also features beautiful fountains, a "Temple of the Condor," and numerous rocks and stones with a variety of indentations and grooves that may have been used for astronomical observations. The most remarkable of these is a vertical rock face with protruding knobs that some say is a solar clock that marks the December solstice and the zenith of the sun.

In fact, the whole of Ollantaytambo serves an astronomical purpose, the site is said to be laid out in the shape of a llama and high up on the mountain, a stone enclosure called the "eye of the llama" catches the first rays of the solstice sun.

Unfinished site
The other notable aspect of Ollantaytambo is that it is an unfinished site. I visited the "ramp" leading to the incomplete Sun Temple where slabs of rhyolite slabs were found. It indicates that that work on the site have been interrupted.

Photo. A part of the masterpiece of the ancient Inca site, Ollantaytambo. It`s believed to be an unfinished site. © Travel Explorations.

There are many theories about why the work was stopped. Some think it was because of the Spaniards invasion. Others suggest the reason could be the Inca Civil war, or the death of the monarch Pachacuteq.

Whatever the reason, these amazing and evocative structures still prove the great craft and innovation of the Incas.


It is said that Manco Inca's warriors successfully defended the terraces against Pizarro in 1536, and subsequently enclosed the site and the valley with a defensive wall. In the archaeological site I observed the bath of the princess, Bano de la Musta, and the temple where the building work was begun by Pachacuti, who used Colla Indians from Lake Titicaca. These Indians are said to have deserted halfway through, accounting for many unfinished blocks around.

On the mountain face, there are small ruins known as Inca Misanca believed to have been a small temple or observatory, and a series of seats and niches have been carved out of the cliff. There is also an irrigation system cut out of the sheer rock face.

Photo. Inca terraces. Coming up.

Did the Inca`s get help from the outer space?
Some believe that the stonework is so incredible made that it could impossible been made by humans. In his series of books beginning with Chariots of the Gods, The famous Swiss scientist, adventurer and author Eric Von Daniken, launched a theory that the Andean stone-constructions were built by Aliens who visited the earth for a long ago, and brought civilization to primitive humans living at that time. It`s a fascinating theory, but it could also been understood as an underestimating of people in the past.

Anyway, if you believe Eric Von Daniken`s theories, or not, there are obvious lack of rational explanations about many things related to the ancient monument of Ollantaytambo.

It`s still a mystery today how the Inca's could build such an enormous and well constructed complex based on stones. At that time they had no iron tools or knowledge of the wheel, but anyway they were able to dig out the huge stones, transport them across the valley and a river, bring them up to the top of the mountain, shape and place them in remarkable structures.

I just wonder: who would be able to do this today even with the most modern technology and transport?

Stein Morten Lund, 29 March 2006

Additional information
Tour operators are welcome to contact us in Travel Explorations for advertising and targeted campaigns! We attract travellers to Peru and other countries in South America. So if you like to have some more travellers on your tours, Travel Explorations could promote your offers in the most effective way. E-mail: Stein@TravelExplorations.com.

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