Ultimate Travel of Pisac Ruins + Market

Pisac is a small town in Peru in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It is about an hour away from Cusco and can be reached by car or bus. Pisac is known for its market, held every Sunday, and its Incas ruins, are some of the most well-preserved Inca sites in the country.

The Pisac ruins are among Peru’s most extensive archeological sites in the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Located on the long crest of a 3300m (10826 ft) high mountain overlooking the Southern end of the Urubamba Valley or Sacred Valley, Pisac is 32 kilometers Northeast of Cusco.

As was customary in Inca architecture, cities were built in the shape of animals. Pisac is shaped like a partridge, thus its name. The views from the countryside are mesmerizing as the ruins, and their markers are remarkably satisfying. You may be tempted to stay longer than you originally intended to stay in the town.

History of Pisac

The Killke culture occupied Pisac in the Late Intermediate Period (90d - 1200AD) as it was found in ceramics during the excavation and during the expansion of the Incas in the 1400s, Pachacuti, the ninth Inca king (1438 - 1472AD), ordered the site's construction.

Pisac was an important center for agriculture, trading, and a religious site during the Inca Empire's height. The Incas built a large Pisac complex, including temples, farming terraces, storage buildings, and homes for the nobility.

Pisac is located at the intersection of the Sacred of the Incas, The Amazon, and the South of Cusco. Due to its strategic location, Pisac was also an important military center, as it served to control the neighboring regions. 

The Spanish Conquerors and Pizarro, in the early 1533s, destroyed for of Piusac temples and Palaces. The Viceroy Toledo built the modern town of Pisac in 1570 in the valley below the archaeological site.

Today, the town is known for its famous Inca ruins and market, which attracts tourists and locals alike. Pisac has become increasingly popular with tourists in recent years due to its proximity to Cusco and easy access to the Sacred Valley. The town is home to several hotels, restaurants, and a variety of shops selling traditional Peruvian handicrafts. Despite its growing popularity, Pisac remains a relatively small town. Its population is estimated at around 5,000 people. However, this number swells during the tourist season, when many visitors enjoy the market and the town's relaxed atmosphere.

Pisac Archeological Site

The Inca site is situated on a hillside overlooking the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The Incas occupied this place from the 14th century until the 16th century. The ruins at Pisac include temples, palaces, plazas, and an extensive system of terraces. The terraces were used for agriculture and supported the large population at Pisac. Among the most important buildings at Pisac, we have: 

  • The farming terraces

Pisac's farming terraces are one of Peru's most iconic and impressive sights. They are a series of terraces built by the Inca people centuries ago to farm the land; they are an incredible feat of engineering built without modern machinery or tools. Instead, the Inca people used only their manpower and simple tools to create them.

The terraces are constructed from stone, mud, and dirt. They are held together by an intricate system of water channels and adapted to the shape of the mountain.

  • The tombs

Pisac is home to one of the largest and best-preserved Inca cemeteries. Around 10000 people were buried at this site; most of them were destroyed by Huaqueros (tomb robbers) since the Incas used to bury their dead with gifts and belongings. 

  • Intiwatana

The Intiwatana is a large stone structure in the ancient Inca city of Pisac. The name means "Hitching Post of the Sun" in Quechua, the language of the Incas. The Intiwatana was used as an astronomical observatory and as a calendar by the Incas. The Spaniards were intent on destroying all traces of Inca culture and religion, so they demolished the Intiwatana. Today is possible to see part of this amazing building, and still amazing. 

Pisac Dooways
Pisac Dooways

Main Attractions at Pisac town.

The town's architecture is built on indigenous remains mixed by Viceroy Francisco de Toledo. Pisac is recognized for its large number of attractions as well as its charming and colorful atmosphere. Below are some of the fantastic attractions you must not miss on your trip to Pisac;

  • Pisac market

This traditional craft market will dazzle you with its unique products made by local artisans. The Pisac market is a gold mine for the best souvenirs, offering remarkably sensible tourists compared to Cusco. Silver jewelry, flutes, backpacks, ornaments, chullos, alpaca wool, and other handmade accessories are decorated with bright colors. Although it operates daily, the official market days are Tuesday, Thursday, and Sunday. The market is biggest on Sunday when Quechua communities from the surrounding area come to town to sell their organic produce.

Local Market in Pisac
Local Market in Pisac
  • Comunitario Museum of Pisac

That museum opened in 2009 on the corner of Avenida Federico Zamalloa. It exhibits ceramics and traditional textiles produced by local Quechua communities.

  • Potato Park

Peru is famous for its many potatoes. You might want to visit Parque de la Papa (Potato Park) during your visit to Pisac. Here you can see the work done to protect the potato and later enjoy a potato picnic prepared by the locals.

Paruparu Villagers - Potato Park
Paruparu Villagers - Potato Park
  • Jardin Botanical

Also known as Felipe Marin Moreno Botanic Garden, located in an old enclosed colonial garden and was created in 1917 by a Peruvian botanist and explorer. He built up his collection over many years through correspondence with different botanists worldwide.

  • Nusta Encantada (The Enchanted Nusta)

That is a rock formation on the road to the south that is said to be the remains of Princess Inquill carrying bags on her back on Nustayoc hill.  According to the legend, chief Huayllapuma and his people suffered attacks by their neighbors who used the rainy season to attack the kingdoms. Chumpi, the oracle Wankar Kuichi, prophesied that only a prince who could build a bridge on the river overnight could marry the princess. A young man once came and decided to make the bridge overnight while the princess walked forward carrying their belongings on her back. She was not supposed to look back at any point. When the ground shook, she looked back and turned into a rock.

  • The City of the Towers

It is also known as the “City of Towers” because it has over twenty towers in the noticeable parts of the mountain. You can hike towards the top of the mountain and visit some towers. The view is breathtaking from above, and the walk is worth it.

Pisac Food Specialties

The town is notorious for its delicious street food. Travelers who have been to the city recommend the town’s unique corn “choclo” boiled, smeared with cilantro and hot pepper paste, and served with a chunk of fresh country queso for chewing.

As mentioned, you may also want to take a trip to the Potato Park and have a chance to check out the picnic lunch, where different kinds of Peruvian potato dishes are served.

The culinary sanctuary of Pisac Peru celebrates diversity in all its forms by decorating landscapes, tubers for food, and other varieties for ritual and ceremonial uses.

Only a handful of places globally invoke paradisiacal spirit; Pisac is definitely among the number.

Farming terraces of Pisac
Farming terraces of Pisac

Best tours to visit Pisac

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