Adventurers will find a wealth of exciting and mysterious artifacts on the path to the Incan city of Machu Picchu, and many of those are found in the great Urubamba Valley. Also known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the Urubamba Valley is a stronghold of Inca culture that offers those who travel to Machu Picchu a glimpse of what life for these ancient peoples must have been like.
Despite its name, the valley was not part of the Inca Empire itself, but instead the property of the emperor – making it among the most sacred of sites in the region. Inca emperors were gods to their people, and the land was shared among the ruling class and holy men. As one may imagine, the valley is dotted with the ruins of numerous temples, settlements and other cultural destinations.
Located just outside of the Peruvian capital of Cusco is Pisac, a classic Incan city with ruins dating back as far as those of Machu Picchu. The ruins can be found atop a small mountain towering above the city, and travelers can see the large, man-made terraces on the hillside leading upward, which were used for farming in ancient times.
Another memorable cultural site is Kenko, a small temple carved out of a sheer rock wall that is one of the more interesting stops in the valley. Once an amphitheater for public ceremonies, the site holds many mysteries including a secluded underground chamber that may have been the venue for mummification rituals or other practices.
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