Ollantaytambo is a town in southern Peru, located in the district of
Ollantaytambo, province of Urubamba, Cusco region. It is approximately
60 km to the northwest of the city of Cusco, situated at an altitude of
2792 meters above sea level.
Ollantaytambo, which means something like "Storehouse of my Lord," is
thought to be the only remaining example of pre-Columbian urban
planning. The buildings and courtyards as well as the narrow lanes have
their original form. The straight, narrow streets today form fifteen
square blocks, or canchas, which contain one entrance to a central
quadrangle which is surrounded by houses. A number of fine colonial
houses are constructed on finely-worked Inca walls of dark pink rock.
The original Inca settlement constituted an administrative, religious,
agricultural and military complex.
On a hillside overlooking the town is a monumental Incan complex,
commonly referred to as a fortaleza (fortress) due to its extraordinary
walls. It was in fact a tambo, or inn, and was strategically located to
dominate the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It was here where Manco Inca
retreated to in order to amass his armies after the fall of Cusco to the
According to legend, as documented by Garcilaso de la Vega, the people
were commanded by the Inca god Viracocha to build the city.
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