Fortress of Ollantaytambo

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Fortress of Ollantaytambo

Walk above town to a formidable stone structure where massive terraces climb to the peak. It was the valley's main defense against the Antis from the neighboring rain forests. Construction began during the reign of Pachacutec but was never completed. The rose-color granite used was not mined in this part of the valley. The elaborate walled complex contained a temple to the sun, used for astronomical observation, as well as the Baños de la Ñusta (ceremonial princess baths), leading archaeologists to believe that Ollantaytambo existed for more than defensive purposes, as was typical with Inca constructions. The fortress was the site of the greatest Inca victory over the Spanish during the wars of conquest. The Manco Inca fled here in 1537 with a contingent of troops after the disastrous loss at Sacsayhuamán and routed Spanish forces under Hernando Pizarro. The victory was short-lived: Pizarro regrouped and took the fortress. If you come on your own, take the time to walk up above to see an Intihuatana ("hitching post of the sun").

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