Pisac is a small town about 30 minutes by bus from Cuzco that unfortunately is off the radar of many tourists who mainly come to Peru to see Machu Picchu. The town sits in Peru’s Urubamba, or Sacred Valley surrounded by towering mountains and a river. Pisac is most famous for the Inca ruins and its market, the former which dates back several hundreds of years before the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in the 1500s.
Things to do in Pisac, Peru
Standing high above the town on a hill are some of the largest ruins in the valley with terraces second only to those found in Machu Picchu and Ollantaytambo. The complex is huge, and you can even see parts of the outlines of the citadel from the floor of the valley. It is believed that these ruins were once part of a holy fortress city, complete with a temple for religious ceremonies and a agricultural storage facility. The views from the citadel of the surrounding mountains and the town of Pisac below are pretty stunning.
The Intihuatana section of the citadel contains the Reloj Solar, a sundial type of device which helped the Incas to determine the seasons and the best time for planting crops. This part of the citadel also contained the palaces of the moon and stars as well as water channels where bathing rituals were performed.
Another section, the Q’allaqasa, or military area, is connected to the Intihuatana by a very narrow stone tunnel. If you just take a look across the gorge from this section, you’ll see countless hollowed-out holes in the cliffs opposite. These are the remains of Inca tombs that were looted by grave robbers. From there you can walk on a short path to the Kanchiracay which is the agricultural section of the citadel.
Thanks to Peru’s popularity as a tourist destination, the town of Pisac today has become quite busy, especially on market days when tourists come in streams to shop for local Peruvian goods and handicrafts. Many of the townspeople and those living in the surrounded areas come to the market dressed in traditional clothes to sell and barter colorful textiles, jewelry, leather goods, antiques, pottery, housewares and countless other trinkets and collectables. The market is open in the morning at least three days a week. On Sundays, it is open after the town’s mass service.
As places to eat and lodging constantly change, it’s best to check TripAdvisor or related sites for the latest info.
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