10 Most Impressive Ancient Inca Ruins

Martina Rosado
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Moray

The Moray –Naula” ancient Inca ruin is located at the edge of Cusco. This ancient Inca ruin is part of the Moray vista and is one of the many lost city ruins in the Aguas Calientes. The city of Moray –Naula” consisted of stone walls and excellent brickwork, yet the remains are mainly damaged. The ruins are assumed to be the most impressive example of the Incan architecture of Cusco and place a very great value to the history of Peru.

The most impressive part of the ruins of Moray –Naula” is the terrace. It is an excellent work of engineering that is almost perfectly preserved. The square terrace has a fencing surrounding a central park, with arches that facilitate communication between the different parts of the city. The terrace is flanked by stone walls and massive supporting walls, as well as impressive stables for the camels and horses. The doors of the burned city of Moray –Naula” are still open and the remains tell us the terrace was used by the Inca as a military center.

Winay Wayna

Winay Wayna was an Inca city located on the slope of Mount Uqaq (in present day Vilcabamba). The ruins are often called Mountain of Fire. The palace of the Inca Wiracocha lies in a secluded area of the ruins, which can be accessed by a viewing platform built out from the structure.

The ruins are surrounded by water created by two rivers that converge to form the Alto Amazonas or Amazon river. The ruins of this Inca city are on the opposite side from the ruins of Machu Picchu.

Winay Wayna was one of the four Inka city-states created by the Inca. From the seclusion of the ruins, it is possible to see inaccessible parts of the Vilcabamba region. The famous Machu Picchu is a short distance away from Winay Wayna.

Nine miles away from the ruins is the waterfall that resulted in the formation of the Vilcabamba River.

Coricancha

(also Cusco or Qosqo)

Coricancha, also called Cusco, Cusco city, Qosqo, Qosqo city, or Qosqo Raymi, is an ancient Inca site in Cusco, Peru. It is located at an elevation of 3,430 m

It was once the palace of the Inca Empire which was the center of their state. The site, which is in what was formerly the Sacsahuaman section of the city of Cusco, is one of the two largest structures in Cusco, the other being the Wiracocha Temple.

The ruins of the palace are today used for ceremonial purposes by the Inca and modern indigenous Peruvians for ceremonial and cultural events.

Coricancha, which means "adorned" or “jeweled” in the Inca language of Quechua, was officially declared a National Cultural Heritage by the Peruvian government in 1978.

Llactapata

The ruins of Llactapata are in the road leading to Cuzco from Huaraz. They are the property of the municipality of Characato. The Ruins are the major architectural work of Ali Maimona Yupanqui, an Inca Ruler who was well known in the Inca Empire. They consists of several different buildings that are all in different stages of degrees of abandon. They have been consistently used from the time of the Incas until the early 1900’s when the last inhabitant was gone.

These structures were present in Llactapata during the Inca Empire, so until the onset of the Spanish invasion of the Americas through South America the inhabitants were reliable of their rule. The architecture of the Castle of Llactapata was a main product in the city which contrasted it strongly from other Inca and pre-Inca architecture. At the time of the Spanish invasion, the inhabitants of the castle were forced to flee. Since the last inhabitant had left from the Inca, the buildings stood in the same state until the beginning of the twentieth century on the north side of the Andean Community of Characato, currently in the Challqipata Municipality.

Isla del Sol

(Sun Island)

This is another ruins and archaeological site on the coast of the Pacific, northwest of present day Lima, the capital of Peru. One of the most impressive Incan ruins is Isla del Sol or “Sun Island.” A huge statue of the sun, depicting a huge golden disc, was built on the island, but it was taken by Spaniards in 1535.

Although just off the coast of Peru, it took more than a decade for the Spaniards to make the journey on foot from Lima to Isla del Sol. One of the expedition survivors of the journey, Titu Cusi Yupanqui, gave detailed descriptions on the island. He described the statue as a giant stone on which the rays of the sun were carved.

However, it is now believed that the story of the statue being made of gold was just a legend … an attempt by the natives to explain why the Spaniards were unable to take the island and reach Peru.

But if the story itself is false, does that mean that the sun might have been carved as a golden disc and only painted gold to represent the sun? The theory proposed by the British archaeologist and historian Jeremy Green is that the statue (also known as Titicaca Sun) is the title of the sun god from a race of people known as Inca.

Sacsayhuaman

Sacsayhuaman, meaning the fortress of the hummingbird, is an ancient Incan site located north of Cusco in Peru. It is one of the largest archeological sites in Peru and was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1986.

The name of the fortress comes from the hummingbird-shaped stone sculptures, placed on the side of a mountain, at the top of a pass. This strange construction is actually a complex of defensive walls and other structures. Although it was used primarily as a military defense structure, it also seems to have been a ceremonial site.

Due to the airy quality of the construction, Sacsayhuaman has often been compared to an igloo, which may have been a reason for the construction’s name.

The structure appears to have been the initial fort of the Inca empire. It’s first use (before it was expanded) was to defend the city of Cusco, and it later served as a jail. Today, the site is actually an open-air museum that people can visit. It’s a great place to get a feel of what life might have been like during the Inca empire.

Inca Pisac

Located in the mountain town of Cuzco, the Alcavía de San Pantón is a massive fortress-like building at the center of the ruins of the capital city of the Inca empire.

Constructed in an impossibly accurate and crudely perfect technique, the Alcavía de San Pantón is a wonder.

It is estimated that it took 3,000 men twelve years to construct the building, which is a sight to behold.

It is still used for ceremonial and religious rituals. However there are no longer any residents living in the building as it, and the remaining ruins of Cuzco, are considered sacred to the Incas.

It`s estimated that it took 4,000 men ten years to finish the construction of Canchis.

The Canchis is located in the middle of the ruins of the capital city of the Inca Empire located in nearby Machu Picchu.

It was discovered in 1978, the same year Cuzco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO.

It is a large open area that overlooks the nearby Pisac Panorama which is where the Inca would hold their religious ceremonies.

The steps in to the grounds of the Canchis are believed to be the only original Inca stone steps to exist.

Choquequirao

Choquequirao Travel by bus is more comfortable than motorbike tour. Choquequirao is the most recognizable ruins of the Inca cultural heritage. Choquequirao is located in the south of the city of Cusco in the province of Cusco, Peru. Choquequirao is a 40 km long road and through the urbanization of Cusco and can be reached in about 30 minutes by bus or taxi (we advise the use of taxi due to its price, or you can try the habitability of car).

This was the site of a ceremonial residence for the Sapa Incas and is one of several ruins of this type in the region. It is located on the Ausangate Mountain, located at a height of 4,922 meters above sea level. The site is accessed by a winding road with an average gradient of 20% and a maximum of 28% for the last part of the road to Choquequirao (it reaches 30%).

Chuqiurao is really beautiful and its landscape is surprising and impressive It’s an incredible feeling to travel the road to Choquequirao in the mountains and among the clouds that blanket the Andes, in addition to bird species and remote markets that appear along the way.

Ollantaytambo

Find It : Village of Ollantaytambo

What : This is a picturesque village with stunning Near Eastern architecture, and is home to Peru’s Neo-Inca Temple Complex.

History : The Incas invaded Ollantaytambo in 1438, destroying homes and the surrounding town. They were terrorized for a few weeks until their leader, Tupac Yupanqui, felt at peace after visiting the ruins.

The Ancient Incas chose to rebuild Ollantaytambo with a fort and houses in a Near Eastern style, which was believed to bring peace to the local towns.

How Long : 67th

How Long :  This beautiful city is a native city of the Incas, which you can still experience today as the village has not changed much since it was originally inhabited. One of the most notable attractions here is the Neo-Inca Temple Complex, which is a spectacular past presentation of Inca architecture that you should try to explore the best.

Machu Picchu

Peru.

The city Machu Picchu is located high in the Andes mountains was once occupied by about a thousand Incas. The ruins of Machu Picchu remain as a breathtaking testament to the ingenuity of the Incans who built all the temples, bridges and aqueducts that still stand today.

As stated by a native living nearby, “it’s like God came down and lived with us for awhile.…The dates on the temple stones show that the residents of the city had advanced knowledge of astronomy, metallurgy and agriculture.…The wealthiest citizens lived in a ‘goblin’ city, whose inhabitants dressed in full-body clothing for protection against the cold.…Today the ruins are still a sacred site for the local population.

While it is the well-preserved cliffs that make Machu Picchu a unique site, it is a high plateau climate that makes it one of the best locations to observe stars over the course of the night. The last cloud-free night that the site was able to observe occurred in 1990.