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The following is a list of the places we visited in Peru with a brief description of each. If you click on a location, you will go to a page with more detailed descriptions of our activities there and photos of some of the sites. For additional photos of any area, please go to the Photo Gallery.

Sacred Valley-Urubamba

Chinchera MarketUrubamba is the largest town in the Sacred Valley with around 20,000 people. The Sacred Valley lies along the Urubamba River and was very important to the Incas. Here they built their retreats, palaces and sacred places. It is called sacred due to the glacier topped mountains, the fertile soil and the corn which was grown for the nobility during Inca times. Our first stop was the market in Chinchera. Every Sunday, the locals come to Chinchera to buy their produce, sell their crafts and socialize with their neighbors. It was our first look at the colorful dresses and unique hats worn by the Peruvian women. And the beautiful, wide-eyed children.




Pisac Ruins

Terraces at PisacThe Spanish town of Pisac was built on an Inca settlement in the shadow of the great stone terraces of the Inca ruins. The ruins are on a ridge overlooking the fertile Urubamba Valley. The Incas built the terraces to the top of the mountain for cultivation and erosion control. Many tombs have been found here and there is a rare Intihuatana - a sacred carving or "hitching post of the sun".






Ollantaytambo Ruins

OllantaytamboAt the end of the paved road that runs from Cusco to the Sacred Valley of the Incas is the imposing fortress of Ollantaytambo. It gives a good approximation of what the Inca town must have looked like five centuries ago. We climbed over 300 steps to the top of the fortress to the temple area. We could see graineries built into the mountain where the Incas stored their grain, fruits and potatoes.






Machu Picchu

Machu PicchuMachu Picchu was discovered almost by accident by an American explorer and professor of History, Hiram Bingham, in 1911. Besides the high quality of its architectural development and Inca masonry art, Machu Picchu owes a great part of its beauty to the surrounding landscape and majestic location of the city. It is surrounded by the glacier covered Andes Mountains. The Inca city of Machu Picchu is comprised of temples, palaces, shrines, plazas, streets, baths and some 200 dwellings which must have housed an exclusive cast of noblemen and the privileged. It also contains a wide zone of terraces with irrigation channels that were used for planting potatoes and maise to feed an estimated 1,000 residents.




Cusco CathedralCusco is the oldest continuously inhabited city in the Western Hemisphere and was the capital of the Incas. It has a population of over 400,000 people, many of whom live in the highlands surrounding the city center. The city of Cusco is a fascinating mix of Inca and colonial Spanish architecture. Almost every central street has remains of Inca walls, arches and doorways. And the perfect Inca stonework now serves as the foundations for more modern dwellings. The heart of the city, as in Inca days, is the Plaza de Armas. Around it are colonial arcades and four churches. While in Cusco, we visited the main cathedral built in the 17th centruy, the old Inca Fortress of Sacsayhuaman and the Santo Domingo Monastery, built on top of the walls of the Inca Koricancha Temple of the Sun and from its stones.



Palace in LimaFrom Cusco we flew back to Lima. This time we arrived in time for a bus tour of the city. Lima, named the "City of Kings" by the Spanish conquerors, is the country's capital as well as the main gateway into Peru. The city was founded in 1535 by Spanish conqueror Francisco Pizarro and remained the seat of Spain's New World empire for 300 years. Today, Lima is a sprawling coastal metropolis of 8 million people.




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