I had wanted to visit the ruins in Ollantaytambo since I had seen a documentary several years ago that mentioned it was a place in which a battle between the Spanish and the Incas took place – the only battle in which the Incas won and slaughtered the Spanish.
The current town that sits next to the ruins is in fact the same complex. Ollantaytambo still retains the street pattern of the Inca town it was built upon. The current buildings, in the majority, are the actual buildings that stood in the Inca times – only colonialised-up a little.
In a noticeably narrower part of the Sacred Valley, framed by icy peaks, Inca influence on the environment is noticeable everywhere you look. The surrounding mountains are covered in terraces, there are ruins of Inca buildings on the hills above the city, Inca canal systems run water through the streets as they have done for hundreds of years, and most visible, the massive defensive terraces of the fort, temple and inn complex that adjoined the residential area which is now the modern town.
We arrived in Ollantaytambo in the early morning from Machu Picchu by train, ate and visited the ruins. As we were doing this, and afterwards, we noticed a massive influx of locals from distant towns, rural Quechua peoples in traditional dress, arriving in the plaza after walking many hours. Today, a few weeks before regional elections, the peasants were attending and political rally organised by the party of Ollanta Humala.