Tuesday, May 08, 2012

Las Ruinas de Ollantaytambo

Imagine the world in the mid 15th century – the fall of Constantinople, Joan of Arc and the Hundred Years' WarGutenberg invents the printing press, the Forbidden City only 30 years young – the rise of the Inca Empire in South America.

The ruins in Ollantaytambo were constructed during these roaring times.

It was built by the ninth Sapa Inca (Sapa = king) Pachacutec (meaning "he who shakes the earth") – and boy did he live up to his name - this holy dudeness who transformed the Kingdom of Cusco into the Inca Empire. Unlike Machu Picchu, which archeologists believed served as Pachacutec’s royal retreat and estate, Ollantaytambo, was a spiritual and ceremonial center. Surrounded by mountains and ravines, it’s no surprise why this site was chosen.

Although smaller in scale than MP, the ruins in Ollantaytambo are just as impressive – terraces that would have cultivated flowers and herbs, grain depositories built into the mountain, the sun temple with its immaculate alignment of stones. Only Inca nobility and priests lived here.

Don’t be fooled into believing that this was a male dominated society either. The Incas believed in duality and complementary roles. Even today, in the streets, you see the quechua men holding their babies close to their bosom and traces left throughout the ruins – the harmony of nature and structure; the moon temple (although destroyed by the conquistadors only the structure remains) - the moon representing the sacred female power; and lastly, the fountain dedicated to the coya or queen (banos de la princesa).

“For one month out of every year, the entire empire deferred to the Incan queen and to the Moon goddess, or Coya raymi. It was during this time that any and all female concerns…were given voice.  Men were subordinated during this period.” (Truman University).

Now imagine how today’s world would be if we honored this 500 year old Inca practice? In the mean time, enjoy the pictures :)

inside the wall's niches inca priests placed offerings to the gods 
part of the sun temple - wall of the 6 monoliths
how to erect a monolith stone
remains of the moon temple
close up of the mud stucco alongside the fortress wall
ceremonial rock used to mummify inca royalty 
view of the terraces from above
grain storehouses
bath of the princess 
view of the surrounding mountains and town below - the artisan quarters


Randy said...

I am loving the reading and the photos. I could comment on everything it is so good. But as I am not good at commenting I'll just say it here.... Great photos, great reading.

Randy said...

I accidentally posted the same comment twice and then deleted one and now it says right on your blog that I deleted it so now I feel like you should know what it said. It said exactly the same as my other comment. Ha! I told you I am not very good at commenting on blogs. But I love reading your blog. Isn't it kind of ironic that I deleted a duplicat comment only to say essentially the same thing in a third comment? Yes, I thought so. hello my friend. Pass on my hello to your boy and furry friends.

White Shell Girl said...

nw amigo :)) it brings me joy all the same to hear from you.


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