When it comes to ancient ruins in the Andes, a lot of people immediately think with the famous Machu Picchu. Until 1911 when archeologist Hiram Bingham ‘officially’ discovered the ruins, they lay hidden in dense forest and morning mists, at the top of a hill on top of the thundering Urubamba River. Thought to are actually built because of the Inca ruler, Pachacuti Inca Yapancui, the sanctuary of Machu Picchu covers a space of 5 square km’s. It is part with the larger Machu Picchu Heritage site, spanning a place of 32,600 hectares and you will find numerous archaeological wonders plus a myriad of magnificent natural world.
Getting for the ruins isn’t a small feat and it is 10 km more than the trek to Machu Picchu for the famed Inca Trail. It is a grueling trek partly, with 8km’s of endless switchbacks to achieve the campsite close to your ruins. Despite being bigger than Machu Picchu, just about 30% with the ruins have already been cleared, revealing some fantastic discerning features. Decorating the perimeters of some with the terraces, are white inlaid rocks creating the design of Llama. In other places, the rocks are widely-used to create the form of a lady.
While about 3000 tourists pour into Machu Picchu daily, other ruins, no less beautiful lie deserted; visited by few and unknown to a lot of. One of these is Choquequirao asked have once housed about 150 people and totally independent in terms of food and water. Extensive terracing spans the ruins which hug the side with the Capuliyochill, the top which was leveled off with the Inca to produce a flat platform 30by 50 m wide.
In the northern part on the country almost 1000km faraway from Machu Picchu, stands another unknown hero, the citadel fortress of Kuelap. This massive complex spans 110m x 600m and comprises a huge selection of stone buildings in varying stages of ruin. With its characteristic high yellow walled entrance and green grasses shimmering from the sunlight, it sits on lofty heights of 3000m and appears down over the Urubamba valley below. Getting for the ruins need not involve endless kilometers of uphill trudging; well, not with the tour bus. The Peruvian Government intentions to make this the “second Machu Picchu” and if promises to install a cable car up for the ruins proceed, like with Choquequirao, it soon will likely be.
Apart from being master builders of terracing, the Inca were also gifted in hydro engineering and also the 3500m high Tipón is centered on honouring water plus the life it offers. Harnessing water coming from a spring high up inside mountain, the engineers of Tipón constructed 12 terraces with stone lined aqueducts to get water down an overall of 130m in altitude, from 1.35km away. Path and stairs were laid alongside the aqueducts, snaking their high steep hill sides in places which has a 30% gradient. These ruins are remarkably peaceful that has a serene stillness about them.
The ancient Peruvians power to harness water hasn’t been restricted entirely to agriculture, and even though these are not, actually, considered ruins, they can be certainly a wonderful sight and believed to possibly pre-dates the Inca Empire. At the end of an isolated dusty road near to the town of Moras a huge selection of kilometres from your sea, with an altitude of 3800m, lies a whitewashed mountain. Hundreds of terraces grace the hillsides, built solely when it comes to harnessing salt. Each salt pond, is roughly 30cm and measures 2×2 metres. Narrow funnels channel water from a single pond on the other on the side with the mountain. The ponds are individually of about 600-700 families plus the salt is gathered manually into large bags, where it’s carried up on the top and transported to your nearby town by donkeys.
Myriads of ruins lie strewn over the Andes, from southern Chileto central Peru, many no less beautiful compared to the popular Machu Picchu. Each supplies a point on the massive roadmap that features a vast empire once ruled the Andes. For the Inca people, lots of their secrets still lie buried inside the cloud forests, awaiting a chance, to disclose their mysteries.