Machu Picchu is without doubt the world’s most famous Inca ruin. However Peru has many more ancient sites that shed light on how truly advanced this civilisation was. They’re incredible examples of human engineering and manpower. Instagram is full of photos of these Inca ruins, ranging from the iconic to ones that are slightly off-the-beaten-track.
Machu Picchu is a perfect example of the Inca’s architectural and engineering prowess. The ancient citadel was built with a residential quarter, a royal district and a sacred area. These buildings, seen in @photojbartlett‘s atmospheric Instagram, were built out of stones weighing more than 50 pounds. The workers pushed and carried these stones up the mountain as the Incas didn’t have wheels. It was built in the mid-1400s during the peak of the Incan Empire and became lost to the world after the crash of the civilisation in the 16th century. It’s hard to believe that for years the only people to see this spectacular archaeological site were the local farmers. However the number of visitors since its discovery has made up for lost time. The New Wonder of the World hosts as many as 5,000 people a day.
One of the best ways to view the UNESCO-listed city of Cuzco is from the heights of the Inca ruins of Sacsayhuaman. The Incas expanded this site in the 13th century with the citadel originally built by the Killke culture. It was the venue for the bitter battle of 1536 between Inca leaders and the Spanish conquistadors. 20% of the original structure remains after the Spaniards tore down the rest to build their homes. This includes three-tiered walls which zigzag across the plateau for 600 metres, seen in @isabelaafreitas‘s Instagram with the view of Cuzco in the background. Now it’s the setting for the annual Inti Raymi festival and home to fluffy alpacas keen for a photo opportunity.
Moray is an Incan ruin lacking in tourists yet full of mystery. Historians are unsure as to what the site was designed for yet one theory is it was an agricultural laboratory. Each terrace experiences its own micro-climate with the temperature at the bottom of the deep amphitheatre-style pits varying from that at the top by as much as 15ºC. The tiers of Moray’s terraces built into a high plateau are visually stunning, the Inca’s neat handiwork captured in @ehhmanuel Instagram.
The Inca town of Ollantaytambo is full of historical significance. It was the royal residence of Emperor Pachacuti and when the Spanish invaded it was where Macno Inca Yupanqui, who led the Inca resistance, resided. Ollantaytambo is another example of the Incas incredible skills. The 50-tonne rocks at the top of the fortress were carved out of mountain and transported across plains and rivers. It has a great location in the Sacred Valley and is a popular stop with hikers before they head out on the Inca Trail. Climb to the top of the fortress and you will get outstanding views of the valley, such as the one photographed by @hannita_k.
Choquequirao is one of the most remote Inca ruins and has been nicknamed Machu Picchu’s little sister. While it’s similar in structure and architecture, the two sites could not differ more in visitor numbers. It has been said to receive only a dozen visitors a day. However it’s only a matter of time before the crowds descend due to plans to build a cable car across the valley. This could see up to 3,000 visitors each day taking the ride that will only last 15 minutes. If you’re keen to explore Choquequirao crowd free, similar to @christianmattsson, we recommend visiting as soon as possible.
If you’re visiting these Inca ruins, we want to see your photos. Tag your Instagram photos with #onthegotours for a chance to be featured on our account.