7 Most Breathtaking Ancient Ruins in Peru

Oct 26, 2022

Peru is a beautiful country to explore. This fact is attested to by its booming tourism industry, which comes third only to fishing and mining. In fact, the tourism industry of Peru is growing at a faster rate than any of its South American neighbors. Tourists come to see the Peruvian Amazon, to experience the food and culture, to explore the cities, to spend time at beaches, and, of course, to see Peru’s many ancient ruins. Here are 7 of the top, must-see ancient ruins in Peru:

1 Machu Picchu

Though Peru has much more to offer than Machu Picchu, this popular site is still a staple in Peruvian site-seeing, and for good reason. Located high on a mountain ridge, this 15th-century Inca city is beautiful and a lot of fun to explore. Just make sure to disturb the site as little as possible and to clean up after yourself when you go.

2 Saksaywaman

Saksaywaman is a complex that can be found just outside of the city of Cusco. Saksaywaman has intrigued tourists and archaeologists alike due to its massive stone walls, which are made of carefully cut boulders that fit together like puzzle pieces. There are many theories on how these stones were moved and cut, but nobody really knows for certain.

3 Ollantaytambo

A bit further from Cusco sits the ancient Inca site of Ollantaytambo. It was built in the mid-15th century by the Emperor Pachacuti, who then used the site as a royal estate. Today, it is popular among tourists and often used as a start point for the Inca Trail which leads up to Machu Picchu. Situated along the Patakancha River, Ollantaytambo has some of South America’s oldest continuously inhabited dwellings.

Read also – 10 World’s Oldest Cities

4 Moray

Moray is an extremely intriguing site because archaeologists believe that is was perhaps used by the Incas for agricultural experiments. The site consists of enormous, circular terraces built in such a way so as to create large variations in temperatures and other conditions from the top to the bottom. These terraces could have perhaps been used to study how different plants grew in different environments.

5 Chan Chan

Unlike the other sites on this list, Chan Chan is not thought to have been built by the Incas. Instead, this large city, which was likely constructed around 850 AD, was built by a civilization known as the Moche. It is the largest adobe (mud brick) city in the entire world, and at one point it may have housed 30,000 people. Due to weather changes and earthquakes, Chan Chan is on UNESCO’s World Heritage in Danger list.

6 Choquequirao

Photo: Miradas.com.br

Choquequirao is an Inca city which is quite similar in construction and location to the more famous Machu Picchu. It is located on a hilltop up in the mountains, though it was built almost 100 years after Machu Picchu was founded. About 40% of the buildings and terraces have so far been excavated.

7 Qurikancha

Qurikancha is a site that you can find right in the city of Cusco itself. This ancient temple of the Sun God was the most important of the entire Inca Empire. It not only housed many golden statues, but the very walls and floors of Qurikancha were covered in gold as well. Today, all that remains of the temple is the large stone foundation, as the Spanish colonists destroyed it and built the Church of Santo Domingo overtop. The remaining foundation was incorporated into the construction of the church.

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When visiting Peru, explore a few (or all) of these ancient ruins. You will learn many interesting historical facts, rethink your modern life and maybe will make some changes in your lifestyle. What ancient ruins have you already visited?