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Sacred Valley


The Sacred Valley (Urubamba Valley) of the Incas, has a route through the town of Pisac, Calca, Yucay, Urubamba, Ollantaytambo and Chinchero.

Peru hiking tour in the Sacred Valley area is an adventure that will let you experience Sacred Valley in a very special close-up way.

Pisac

Inca Trail, Sacred Valley, Pisac

The village of Pisac is just 89 kilometres from Cusco, it is an important archaeological center that encompasses the mystical Incan constructions, in contrast to the natural richness of the Sacred Valley.

Although it is very difficult to know the autochthonous names of Cusco's ancient cities, Pisac is one of the few examples of original names that are known. It derives from the Quechua word "pisaq" or "pisaqa", which means partridge (a gallinacean type that abounds in this area). According to the traditional Incan architecture, the cities were built based on figurative designs of animals.

A vital Inca road once snaked its way up the canyon that enters the Urubamba Valley at Pisac. The citadel, at the entrance to this gorge, now in ruins, controlled a route which connected the Inca Empire with Paucartambo, on the border of the eastern jungles. Set high above a valley floor patchworked by patterned fields and rimmed by vast terracing, the stonework and panoramas at Pisac's Inca citadel are magnificent. Terraces, water ducts and steps have been cut out of solid rock, and in the upper sector of the ruins, the main Sun Temple is equal of anything at Machu Picchu. Above the temple lie still more ruins, mostly unexcavated, and among the higher crevices and rocky overhangs several ancient burial sites are hidden

It is best known for the Sunday colorful and lively Indian market. Crammed into the main square of this small town is a bustling market comprised of two parts.

The local market for, of and by the Indians takes place in the streets around the plaza and is a constant scene of comings and goings. In the plaza itself is the handicraft market with a wide variety of textiles, carvings, jewelry, ceramics, pots and other items considered somewhere between art and stuff, all depending on your likes and dislikes.

Though touristy beyond belief, the Pisac market has a remarkably deeper side that is rooted in its colonial past and has proven resilient to mass tourism. On Sundays only, campesinos from surrounding villages set up a barter market, or mercado de treque, which is an ancient Peruvian custom and an interesting example of the informal economies upon which highlanders depend. Quechuan-speaking Indians sit behind huge piles of potatoes, carrots, herbs, and other vegetables in one corner of the square. They sell these products to buy essentials (salt, sugar, kerosene, matches, medicines) but also trade to acquire other foods, such as oranges from the Quillabamba Valley.

Pisac does not escape from the famous Incan legends. The city presents a statue that has a very particular legend.

It is said that the cacique Huayllapuma had a daughter called Inquill; who had to get married with the man that could be able to build, just in one night, the bridge over the Vilacmayo River (a very significant bridge for the defense of the place). In spite of the hard work, Asto Rimac, a handsome prince, decided to take the challenge and ask for the hand of the princess.

The authorities of the place arranged everything so Asto Rimac could start the work; meanwhile, the princess had to climb a hill without turning round; because, otherwise, she and her fiancé would turn into rock.

Almost at dawn, the prince finished the work but Inquill could not stand any longer and turned round thus becoming a stone figure up to now.