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The Inca Trail

rain 15 °C

Whenever there is tourist-talk of the Incas the ruined city of Machu-Picchu is first in line. But the Inca Empire was spread far and wide in the 15th and 16th centuries and there are ruins and relics scattered throughout the Andean region from Colombia to Chile. This is one of the many Inca statues from the ruins of a great pyramid in Pukarani…
Agriculture played a large role in bolstering the prowess of the Incas. By producing and storing great quantities of food they were able to live in large settlements without the need to constantly follow herds or scavenge for wild fruits and plants. The amazing circular terraces in Maras near Cusco take up an entire valley and create a significantly beneficial micro-climate for growing produce at high altitudes…(Can you spot the people?)
Perhaps the most successful agricultural accomplishment of the Incas was to domesticate the humble potato and they appear in one form or another on almost every Peruvian plate. McDonald’s are appearing in the cities of Peru, but the damage may already be done…
The Incas were rulers of most of the Andean region for 100 years and examples of their handiwork can be found from Colombia to Chile despite the conquistadors attempts to eradicate all traces of them. We spotted these ruins and terraces on a mountainside somewhere between Puno and Cusco…
Cusco, (previously Qusqu in quechua), was the great capital city of the Incas and would have been a magnificent sight in the early 15th century. But the Spanish conquerors wanted to impose their religion and their will on the peoples of the Andes so they not only destroyed the city but they used the foundations of the Inca’s temples and other buildings as the basis for their religious edifices. This is the magnificent Archbishop’s Palace standing on an equally magnificent Inca plinth of tightly fitting granite blocks…
Cusco today is a city bursting with tourists from all corners of the world and there are hundreds of shops, restaurants and touts all angling for a piece of the pie. It seems that almost every garment under the sun can be woven with alpaca, llama or vicuna fleece, but, we have been warned, all that weaves is not necessarily natural.
The central market in Cusco is definitely not a place to buy a ‘genuine baby alpaca’ sweater or even a pair of vicuna socks, but the local cheeses looked genuine enough as did this selection of fish roe and seaweed…

The Incas had no wheels so there was no need for roads. There was, however, a relay system of couriers called Chaskis who were stationed at 30 kilometre intervals throughout the Empire. Each runner would carry messages, or delicacies like fresh fish, for the Inca rulers from his station to the next over well used paths. He would then hand it over to the next runner before returning home – an early form of telephone tag.

Posted by Hawkson 17:27 Archived in Peru

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Mmmmm. Love to get at that cheese and fish roe with a box of crackers. Not sure about that fluorescent green stuff though.

by R and B

The buildings may change but the stones are still here and gorgeous. Such smart people in terms of agriculture in the past. The art work in your first photo is spectacular. Love the story of Chaskis and how transportation worked.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Now there is a training regime for elite runners. High in the Andes run that fish! Love the market shot.


by Tom

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