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Pisac, yet another of the Sacred Valley’s breathtaking Inca sites


The stunning hilltop Inca citadel is less than an hour’s drive from Cusco but relatively few actually visit.

The site is thought to have been built by the emperor Pachacutec just nine decades before the Spanish arrived and may never have been inhabited.

The Sacred Valley of the Incas, is so chock-full of archaeological treasures that it is an impossible task to pick out one —other than Machu Picchu — that merits special attention. Most visitors, of course, focus on the start and finish of the valley; the old imperial capital of Cusco and Machu Picchu itself. Yet one site that is easily accessible from the city of Cusco and particularly worth a visit is Pisac, another Inca citadel sitting atop a precipitous spur high above the Sacred Valley.


Less than an hour’s drive from Cusco’s city center, the colonial village Pisac does attract significant numbers of visitors to its fabled country market, where locals trade everything from food to ceramics and textiles. Yet relatively few take the time to explore the remains of the citadel overlooking the small, cobbled square where the market is held. If you are feeling extremely energetic you can walk straight up from the market all the way up the steep hill on which the site is located, through the stone remains of its complex of temples and living quarters, baths and water channels. It will take a couple of hours and is definitely only for those in decent shape. But there is also a winding road behind the site that will allow you to begin your exploration at a more leisurely pace close to its summit, once the scene of offerings to the sun.

Little is known about Pisac (sometimes also spelt Pisaq) today. It is thought it was built in the 1440s, less than a century before the arrival of the Spaniards, by the emperor Pachacutec and may never have been inhabited. Yet it ranks as one of the more visually-stunning Inca sites, a breathtaking exemplar of the hallmark of their Andean architectonics of perfectly blending stone constructions into awe-inspiringly vertical landscapes. The agricultural terraces around Pisac, in which locals are thought to have carried up thousands of tons of fertile soil from the valley floor by hand, are also emblematic of the achievements of the Inca empire.


To visit Pisac as part of your unique, individually tailored itinerary, contact the Peru Empire Company at travel@pec.pe or on +51-1-700-5100 or, if you are in the US, 347-713-7030/34.


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