September 7, 2012
Yesterday we hiked up into the mountains above Pisac and up onto the Incan ruins. Above the terraces that you can see from the valley floor are the remains of a number of buildings perched precariously at the top of a mountain. The main group of buildings has incredibly fine, mortarless stonework: blocks with perfectly straight edges, adjoining one another with not a sliver of a gap. Probably built for a ceremonial purpose, some of the buildings contain alcoves for offerings of some sort:
Only one building in the main group has curved walls and it contains a large, dark-coloured, carved stone in the centre: the intihuatana ("hitching post of the sun").
Other clusters of buildings have rougher stone work and were perhaps living quarters, store rooms, and fortifications. As we climbed down, we passed some buildings on the very edge of a cliff with a sheer drop-off outside the windows. We then had to descend hundreds of unfeasibly steep, narrow steps going down through sets of huge terraces. After then walking along numerous switchbacks to get back down to the valley floor, we were about ready to drop when we finally made it back to our hostal.