OLLANTAYTAMBO Reply

THE SANCTUARY OF OLLANTAYTAMBO

It is located in the province of Urubamba. Here is an amazing architectural
wonder, built by solar masters. The town is about 76 Kms. (47.2 miles) away
from Cusco by the road of Chinchero – Urubamba and (8,856 feet). It is a very
vast complex whose central part is in the town and its surroundings; there is a
large amount of farming terraces that are part of the complex. Those terraces
are deteriorated and most of them abandoned. The water that irrigated them
does not flow any more. Their stone aqueducts that were a master work of
engineering were extended by many kilometers; but, today they do not exist
any more. The reason is that today no one is concerned about  keeping them
and because we had almost five centuries in which the invaders were no more
interested in agriculture than in just mining gold and silver.

Ollantaytambo is a compound Quechua word that is derived from ” Ollanta” that
is a personal name, and ” Tambo” that is a Spanish form of ” Tampu” that
refers about a city that offered lodgings, food and comfort for travellers.
“Ollanta” was the name of an Inka general whose history was kept as an oral
tradition. The Ollantay Drama is considered as a classical work of Quechua
literature. Ollantaytambo was a very important sanctuary, it also was a “tampu”
in order to enable control of the roads toward the “Antisuyo” (jungle). Today,
still some people name this sanctuary as “fortress”, which in practice is
improper and we will need more space to explain all this. Besides, for the noble
population dwelling in this city there was a very ample and well planned urban
sector, a plaza surrounded by important buildings and toward the town’s South
an impressive “Kallanka;” that is, a building which dimensions are colossal and
completely roofed. It served as a lodge and perhaps also as barracks for the
army of the region.

The present-day town is located in the same site where the urban sector was in
Inkan times. It is really interesting because here it is possible to find people
living in the same buildings that served as homes for the nobility of the
the Inkan Society. Some of its narrow streets still keep their water channels
where water flowed; they are by the middle or at one side. The streets still
maintain their Inkan names. The town was divided in rectangular blocks with a
very well planned geometrical layout giving the impression of being a The
present-The present-day town is located in the same site where the urban
sector was in Inkan times. It is interesting day town is located in the same site
where the urban sector was in Inkan times. It is really town designed by modern
architects. Every block was compound of two “kanchas” (patio, little plaza); the
interesting because here it is possible to find people living in the same
buildings that served as homes for street gates had double jamb doorways
which indicate that those were real palaces with rooms around a central patio.
At least the lower part of the buildings is original and made with “pirka” type
walls that were covered with a clay coat and possibly also had mural paintings.
Today, their thatched roofs were replaced by red tiles and it is possible to
breath a certain air of modernity as the town has electricity and tap water; but
in short, the town has still an Inkan taste.

Some decades ago in Ollantaytambo, a worldwide meeting of the “Andean”
representatives was carried out and they declared this town as the ” World
Capital of Indianity.” By that time there were some efforts willing to help for an
effective conservation of original structures; in practice, it is so little what was
and is done for that purpose, and it is so sad to prove that many of its innate
elements are being lost slowly. Towards the town’s east is the Pinkuylluna hill
(pinkuyllo = wind musical instrument similar to the “quena” or Andean flute)
where an imposing huge building stands out and about which there is a lot of
myth. Some very imaginative “scholars” argue that it’s been a school, a hospital
some others, jail others, and even a hurling precipice!; according to
archaeology and the Inkan architectonic characterization it was a “Qollqa”, that
is, a granary or storehouse for food, clothing and other elements. It has many
doorways and openings that allowed ventilation, and surely they were built up
there to enable protection of the stored goods. Likewise, some other smaller
buildings are located in outstanding spots or angles of the mountain that
served as  watchtowers for controlling movement of persons in the valley.

Toward the western end of the town and crossing the Patakancha (Upper
Enclosure) stream is the great Plaza known as Mañay Raqay (Pleas Plaza)
which seem to keep its original name, surrounded by sun-dried mud-brick
buildings that were very important in their epoch. Towards the west of this plaza
is the entrance to the Temples; somewhat higher is the spot of the most
important temple: the Sun Temple that was constructed with huge red porphyry
(pink granite) boulders. What is left of the Sun Temple are some peripheral
walls and the classical major wall that according to most historians is part of the
High Altar. It consists of six enormous stone blocks which average weight is
about 60 tons and have as vertical joints some other smaller stones making a
wall. It seems that this is a projection of the Tiwanaku architecture or possibly
the architects were brought from the region of the Titikaka lake; but the final
work is entirely Inkan with joints and outer surfaces complete and finely
polished and glazed so that they could even serve as mirrors.

On the external surface of the fourth boulder (beginning in the Southern end),
there are carved stepped symbols. Even more, there are some other carved
bulges that were broken. It is evident the presence of the “idolatries extirpators”
who destroyed the Sun Temple; nowadays, the stones that were part of this
fabulous temple are all over the place, over the terraces, by the plaza
surroundings, in the church and curate house, and wherever a person looks
with care.

Toward the north of the temple’s entrance gate is a series of water fountains
that because of their location must have performed duties of “Ceremonial
Fountains”, that is, used in order to honour the water elementary. There is one
inside a mud brick square building where water still flows; toward the east of it
there is another one baptized by tradition as the “Baño de la Ñusta”
(“Princess’s Bath”) that shows stepped mouldings in its surface below the
spillway. Farther north there are also many other fountains constituting a vast
temple dedicated to the cult of “Unu” (water). Nearby is the sector that today
has the hybrid name of ” Inka Misana” (spot where the Inka says mass) that
shows an aqueduct carved in the mountain rock face and a liturgical fountain,
small stairways, double jamb niches or false openings capriciously sculpted in
the mountain surface. On the upper area there is a carved conical bulge that
was surely another “Intiwatana” (Solar Meter); more over, there are diverse
mouldings which were part of a complex solar observatory used to measure the
Sun variations during the year as well as for fixing solstices and equinoxes.

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