Ollantaytambo is among my favourite archeological sites in the Sacred Valley, Peru. What I love about it, apart from the architecture, is the view, and more importantly the story. Ollantaytambo is situated at the part of the Valley that begins the 4 day trek to Machu Picchu, the Urubamba river runs by it, and it can feel mysterious. The old part of the town is walled with old Incan stonework and protects the entrance to the archeological site. The site, in the past, was both for agricultural production and for protection against invaders as it sits at the mouth to trek onwards and inwards to Machu Picchu. As for the story, well it is part historical, and part folklore and legend. It is said that before becoming also a site of military and protection, that is was just more terraces for the cultivation of potatoes and other such produce. But protection was needed and so the main general of the army (Ollantay) under the ruling Incan of the time Pachacutec was set to expand the site to also be military. It is also said that the general - Ollantay - was in love with Pachacutec, and as with all tragic love stories - their love too, was forbidden. Legend has it that Pachatutec upon learning of the forbidden love had his daughter locked away - either in a Monestary, or in a small prison not too very far away from Ollantaytambo, but hidden. Legend say that the angry Ollantay built up a much larger military base than originally intended, but that he also intended to go to war with Pachautec over his loss, and that he may have in the process given away secrets or unintentionally partially helped the invading Spanish conquistadors in their mission, and their eventual destruction of the Incan Empire. And like all good legends, we, today may see a sculpture of the general in the main plaza of Ollantaytambo.
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Hello! My name is Tahira Karim. I was born and raised on the Canadian prairies have been leaving and returning ever since. I absolutely love to travel. I am an observer of life and culture, and I have a passion for history and food. I am a visual artist who specializes in painting and drawing. And this blog is a jumble of my writing and thoughts on travel, culture, and food, with a bunch of personal stories thrown into the mix. Enjoy!