Ollantaytambo is one of the most important towns in the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Cusco. It is the only place that retains its ancient Inca urban design. Because it is an obligatory stop before reaching Machu Picchu, it is very visited. However, ‘Ollanta’ has its own charms. The main of all are its Inca archaeological remains.
The word Ollantaytambo derives from the Quechua word ‘Ulla-nta-wi’ which means “place to look down”. According to the Quechua culture, the name comes from ‘Ollanta’, the name of an Inca captain protagonist of the Quechua drama ‘Ollantay’.
Ollantaytambo is the only Inca town that is still inhabited. Its stone streets preserve the Inca architecture combined with colonial temples and squares.
It is presumed that it was the Inca Pachacutec (1438-1471) who ordered Ollantaytambo to be built. Today, this picturesque town is a must for tourists visiting Machu Picchu.
Ollantaytambo is known as the ‘Living Inca City’. Its inhabitants maintain some of the traditions inherited by their Inca ancestors. Its main tourist attraction is the archaeological site (also called fortress) located next to the town.
Ollantaytambo is at the opposite end of the town of Pisac (80 kilometers from the city of Cusco). It can be reached by the Chinchero – Urubamba highway or by train (km. 68). The town is located at 2,700 meters above sea level (m.a.s.l.) and houses some of the most amazing Inca buildings in Peru.