Microclimates, terrace steps, and an agricultural laboratory

Moray Travel Blog

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Moray agricultural terraces

The church bells were a little early this morning so we were up and ready by 6:30 and a little disappointed to see the rain.  We wanted to get an early start, but were content to have breakfast inside before leaving.  It had stopped raining by the time we walked down to the bus stop.  This bus ride to Urubamba was much more enjoyable.  We walked to a hostel recommended by the guidebook so we could drop our packs.  The plan was to go to Moray and Salinas and we tried to talk to the woman at the hostel about it but she only spoke Spanish.  All we got from her was to walk over the suspension bridge and do a little dance.  Huh?

 

We hired a taxi and took a bumpy ride out to the ruins at Moray (included in our Cusco ticket).

steps between terrace levels
  These were terraced sinkholes that supposedly have different microclimates so the Incas could experiment with different crops and grow jungle plants up in the mountains.  Or so that’s what the guidebook led us to believe.  Archaeologists have found corn seeds and potatoes at different levels of terraces, suggesting the Incas were experimenting with growing conditions of different crops.  The deepest sinkhole here is 150 meters!  The site is at approximately 3500 meters (~11480 ft) in elevation so don't be surprised if you get winded. 

We walked down and around and made our way to the big hole.  Those Incas were very smart.  They built steps between the terraces by placing longer stones so they stick out and you can walk down them.  We climbed down the steps until we were in the very center.  Wow - it was very cool.

sitting on the steps
  It did seem a little warmer down there...  There was also a wet spot - hopefully it was supposed to be there (from the groundwater)...  We took some photos and began the long hike back up.  After a few terraces we were pretty winded.  Yikes, I hope its just the altitude but we aren’t that high up.  Hmm…  Maybe were all just really out of shape - or at least I was.  (Oh, I guess we were high up - I didn't realize until we got back that the elevation was over 11,000 ft!)  Near the top it began raining so we donned our raincoats and were pleased to find the cab waiting for us. 

 

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Moray agricultural terraces
Moray agricultural terraces
steps between terrace levels
steps between terrace levels
sitting on the steps
sitting on the steps
big step down
big step down
piles of field stone?
piles of field stone?
people leaving the site
people leaving the site
for irrigation or drainage?
for irrigation or drainage?
the wet spot
the wet spot
climbing back up is harder than it…
climbing back up is harder than i…
Moray Sights & Attractions review
Incan agricultural laboratory
The archaeological site at Moray is easily accessed by taking a taxi from Urubamba (be sure to have your cab wait for you). The entrance is included … read entire review
Moray
photo by: RJ82