Heading toward Ollantaytambo
Click on any photo for the enlarged version.
We're now driving toward a site the conquering Spaniards considered a fortress though it served as a religious place as well for the Incas.
We saw some beautiful countryside outside the windows of our bus. Hats for sun-protection are kept on during the ride, out of habit perhaps. (54k)
This is a walled complex and you can see part of the wall in this shot.
Hernando Pizarro led an attack on the fort in 1536 but was surprised by the multitudes of Incas ready for them. He came back later with 3 times as many men. (97k)
Canon Elph zoom-in on detail on the mountain.
Our guide said that the face was a natural formation and appeared to smile on a sunny day, but I've since read that the face is man-made and it's not known how they did this. At the top of the head or in the forehead are enclosed spaces some feel were observatories.
Even more interesting, it's said this is meant to be the Incan deity Viracocha -- the Andean equivalent to Quetzlalcoatl, described as having blue-eyes and a beard (one description: "white skin, with hair on the face and beautiful emerald eyes") -- most curious, giving their God these physical attributes. What a perfect entry for Pizarro, which it was.
From further reading since I posted this page, I see there's some reason to believe that earlier white explorers (Norwegian?) arrived
at some point, were of some help to the residents, and became immortalized as 'gods' and that the later Incans had their guard down as a result.
At any rate, this god was said to have destroyed civilization once (via a flood, a common feature of creation myths) and then brought it back, not merely creating but busily teaching not only practical things (farming) but a one-god religion.
To the right of this sculpted rock is a granery.
You can get an idea of the size of these if you look at the terraces that were worked by the Incas behind the granery.