The archaeological city of Ollantaytambo dominates the surrounding landscape of Peru’s Sacred Valley, its massive terraces snaking up the hills and rugged stone buildings standing proud against the mountains. Built by Manco Inca, who founded and ruled over what is known as the Neo-Inca State, this vast temple complex became a foundation for military training and political indoctrination—as well as being an enormous agricultural centre of the Incan Empire. The town of Ollantaytambo is a near perfect example of 15th century Incan architecture continuously inhabited since the 13th century, and it was
only in this region that the Spanish army encountered significant resistance when invading, and they were held back until they could return with larger forces. Walking the town’s narrow backstreets, it’s as if you've stepped into a different century. Most of its terraces are still used for growing food—you may even see some locals dressed in traditional garb. A trip to the Temple of Sun is also worthwhile, with views of the Sacred Valley and nearby mountains. You can get away from the crowds and work up a sweat by hiking to Viewpoint of Pinkuylluna for an incredible vista over Ollantaytambo before catching a train to the base of Machu Picchu.

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