Ingapirca Archaeologica Complex

Attractions & Activities In Cuenca


Ecuador’s largest archeological complex, Ingapirca, isn’t on the same scale as Peru’s heavy hitters, but the ruins here do provide interesting insight into the communities that lived here. Both the Cañari people and the Incas occupied the site and imprints from both cultures are still visible today.

Experts believe that the site was probably used for ceremonial purposes – a hypothesis supported by the young, female skeletons found here, which were most likely used for ritual sacrifices. Make a beeline for the most impressive structure at the site, the partially standing, circular Temple of the Sun. Originally, this structure would have been constructed around a large rock, which it is believed had ceremonial significance. Get up-close to see the stonework, which – in typical Inca fashion – was chiseled and fit together with such mind-boggling precision that no mortar was needed. The positioning of the temple is also significant: during the summer and winter solstices, the sunlight would have streamed through the opening into a passageway located at the top of the temple.

Also of note is the Temple of the Moon, of which only the fountains remain in place. This particular temple was constructed by the Cañari people prior to the Inca conquest.

The Ingapirca ruins are just 44 miles from Cuenca, and make a great historical stop-over during your private Ecuador holiday.

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