Ollantaytambo was the second Inca city we visited. This was another sacred site to the Incas and is home to the unfinished sun temple. It is not hard to see why the Incas choose this spot as a sacred spot. The mountain framing the entire place is a round dome of rock, and impressively stands alone over the valley. At the exact right time of year the sun will set directly over the mountain peak and shine a triangular beam of light on the spot where the sun temple was being built. It was never completed because of the Spanish invasion and resulting war.
The stone work by the Incas is mind blowing. How they where able to fit each rock to the next, sometimes meeting multiple angle points and have them fit perfectly is incredible. There isn’t enough space to slip a piece of paper in the joints. Maybe they had computers work it out….
The walls of the unfinished sun temple are about 15 feet (5 meters) and are fitted with thin vertical stringer stones that segment about every 4 feet or so. The stone is polished and has carved relief surface details. It must have been impressive to see a temple finished and in working order.
These stones where being worked and prepared for placement at the sun temple right around the time that the Spanish arrived. The war resulted in the temple never being finished, and the work site sits as it did when work at the site came to a stop.
We got back on the road right as the sun really started to drop. We drove up and out of the valley and headed towards out final stop. The bus climbed a steep valley wall and then hit a massive plateau that seemed to span forever. The view of the mountains forming the sacred valley where as beautiful a range as I have seen, which is saying a lot considering I had just been in New Zealand.
Stay tuned for pictures of the massive peaks around the valley! Thanks for traveling with me.