Sunday, April 10, 2011
Peru - Day 4 Part II - The Circular Terraces of Moray and Salt Pans of Maras
The Inca's were fabulous architects. Their buildings have withstood earthquakes and all that mother nature had to throw at them and they still stand missing only the thatched roofs. The Spaniards destroyed as much as they could, but even that was too large a task for them. They specialized on destroying the Inca temples and building Catholic churches on top of them and left much of the agricultural structures. The circular terraces are so large that you have to look from on high to see them in their entirety. Each terrace was used for growing the life sustaining crops. Different crops grow best at certain altitudes and the Inca's knew this. You can see terracing all along the mountainsides as you drive though the valley and you can see it the photo below.
The stones jutting out from the walls are the steps from one terrace to another. You can see people using them if you enlarge the photo. The Inca's provided a drainage system to keep the bowl from flooding during storms and it still works perfectly.
People at the center of the ruins are having some kind of group experience. It is about a two hour journey to the bottom of the terracing to explore and then return. We just viewed from the rim of the park.
People still harvest salt from the salt pans of the village of Maras just as the Inca's did centuries before. In old times, salt was a highly valuable commodity for trading and vast amounts have been produced here over the years. The salt can only be gathered during the dry season since the water has to be evaporated by the sun to leave behind the salt crystals. The panorama photo shows the scale of the salt pans.