For the most incredible, heart-stopping adventure, then look no further than Peru and the ancient civilisation of the Incas for your next holiday. The Incas began to conquer the lands around Cuzco in the early 13th century, although the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in 1532 brought an end to the short-lived Inca Empire. What remains of the ancient ruins, after the plundering and destruction by the conquistadors, will leave you in awe of just how advanced this civilisation was.
No holiday to Peru would really be complete without a visit to Machu Picchu. It is considered to be the most stunning and impressive of all the ancient Inca ruins. Also known as the “Lost City of the Incas”, Machu Picchu is now one of the most famous of archaeological wonders in the world. It is believed to have originally been built as a military fortress, but was later used by Inca royalty. It is still possible today to see the well-preserved buildings, such as houses and temples and the sheer feat of the construction will leave you incredulous as to how it could have been accomplished.
Wiñay Wayna meaning “Eternal Youth” in the local Quecha language, is an Inca site which sits elevated above the Urubamba River and it is magnificently terraced for growing food. It is believed that the site was a religious centre with some association to water as there are around 19 different springs which carry water to stone baths located throughout the terracing, a characteristic of Inca architecture and design.
This is a walled complex close to the old city of Cusco, also known as Saksaq Waman. The walls are believed to have been for fortification. It is made from blocks of completely irregular-sized stone and has the appearance of a giant jigsaw puzzle, with barely room for a sheet of paper between each stone. One boulder in particular is 29 feet high and weighs more than 360 tons – so the mystery remains as to how the Incas were able to move these giants around.
This was considered to be one of the most revered temples of the Incas and was dedicated primarily to the Sun God, Inti. The Incas also built shrines here to honour the sun, the moon, Pleiades and several weather gods. There was also an astronomical observatory. The floors and walls were once covered in solid gold sheets and the courtyard displayed many gold statues. Despite being severely damaged by the conquistadors and several major earthquakes, thanks to the ingenuity of the Incas, much of it still remains today.
Moray is yet another extraordinary feat of construction. It was used as an agricultural laboratory, in order to develop and grow hardy plants that could survive the diverse climatic conditions of the Andes. There is an ingenious system of irrigation and the deepest crater is approximately 150 metres, with a difference in temperature of 15 degrees between the top and bottom levels.
This is truly a trip that will leave you wanting more – be prepared for a return visit!
This article was produced by Veloso Tours – a leading independent tailor made holiday company.