The Sacred Valley of the Rio Urubamba begins about 15 km north of Cusco and many Inca sites, frenzied markets and high-altitude Andean villages can be found along it.
Our trip started on Sunday morning from Cusco and our English-speaking guide Abelardo told us many interesting things about Peru and especially the history and the development of the Sacred Valley. We passed by wonderful landscapes and after stops on the way, …
we first visited the hilltop Inca citadel that lies high above the little village of Pisac:
Topping the terraces, which played a very important role in farming and preventing erosion, is the ceremonial center with an Intihuatana (Hitching Post of the Sun), one can find several working water channels and long ago abandoned masonry.
The cliff behind the site is cluttered with hundreds of Inca tombs, simply visible as holes in the rock, that were mostly plundered by robbers long ago.
After spending some time at the Inca citadel we visited the famous Sunday market in Pisac:
There you can buy anything from clothes and jewelry, …
to all kinds of fruits, vegetables and meats:
We continued along the Rio Urubamba and stopped in the village of Urubamba for lunch. It was a nice restaurant near the river, with Peruvian music and a great buffet with all different kinds of Peruvian specialties:
After lunch we continued on to the tiny village of Ollantaytambo. With its massive fortress standing sentinel over the cobble-stoned village, this was the most atmospheric place in the valley. We climbed the steep terraces of the Inca complex and had a great lookout:
The huge stones were quarried from the mountainside across the valley high above the Rio Urubamba and then transported to the construction site in an act of tremendous effort:
Our last station on the way back to Cusco was the little village of Chinchero. In order to get there we once again passed through Urubamba and then took a different way back to Cusco leading us high up in the mountains:
In Chinchero we got to know a lot about the traditional manufacturing of the colorful fabrics and clothes.
But first lets have a look at many of the different corn colors and varieties they farm:
And these different variations of potatoes:
The women showed us the traditional way to make the colorful fabrics out of the alpaca wool using only natural ingredients and colorants:
In a first step the wool needs to been cleaned. This is done using a special kind of root, that is first rasped into water and swirled around until it gets foamy just like soap. Using this method the brown wool gets really clean and white! They also claim that local women use the same soap for their hair and never suffer from spliss or damaged hair and it should even prevent grey hair! If this product ever gets to Europe, I’m sure it will be a bestseller…
After cleaning, the wool needs to be spun, before it can be processed. The women do this by using a spindle. It is amazing to watch them walking around while holding the rotating spindle and feeding it with the wool…
At this point the yarn is still white. In order to give it its final color different plants, roots and minerals are used. By adding for example citrus juice they can change the shade of the color. Really amazing to see how these processes work and yield all possible colors:
After a short walk through the village, …
we took the bus back to Cusco and arrived in the late evening after spending a great day, learning much about the history of the Sacred Valley and the life of the Andean village people.This entry was posted in South-America, WorldMap and tagged Crafts