Saturday, December 4, 2010

Quechua people and their Inka

One thing we learned in Cuzco is that "Inka" is the title of a ruler; like Queen, Kaiser, Ceasar or Emporer. The people this Inka ruled were Quechua. Still to this day, many Quechua-speakers live in Peru, including in the more northern parts like around Huaraz.
Cusco - temple of the sun/convent in dramatic light.

Inga at one of the Inka sites near Cusco.

It´s amazing that with all the knowledge these people had, they did not develop a written language. Today, it is possible to learn Quechua in university - so you don´t have to be a native speaker learning it all at home from parents and grandparents. Its written language is based on Spanish, with a few more accents to denote the different sounds the language has.
Rock on rock - always in synch with what was there

Valle Sagrado. One of strategic Inka cities with 65,000 ha of terrasses.
Same site, new view.
Inga at Ollantaytambo.

Looking pleased. The building mid-mountain is a grainery
There were 14 Inkas (if I recall correctly). The Spanish could take over the empire so easily in part because it was in internal chaos: yes, the usual power struggles between the Inka´s off-spring.
View over the Cordillera from Chincero

Our team in Huaraz was Quechua. And the guides we had around Cusco were mesquites (mix of Spanish and indigenous).



  1. Those terraces are awe-inspiring How many levels are there? Does anyone still farm them? The terraces seem so pale compared to the lush green of the valley at the bottom.
    What is Ollantaytambo?
    In the last pcture, are those letters on the cliff to the right of the wall remnant? Graffiti?

  2. 12,000 terraces in the Sacred Valley. These ones just had grass on them, ie not used for farming now. In some areas they are still used of course. Most agriculture in Peru happens between 3,000 and 4,000 m - very high up. Given the great seismic forces here (plate movements = earthquakes as well as volcanic activity) these ancient (OK, 500 to 600 years old) terraces are essential. The builders even accounted for flash floods and irrigation when constructing them. Pretty smart.