As if the area around Cuzco didn’t have enough ruins already, backpackers will be overwhelmed, perhaps, when they learn of one more. They’re all worth the muscle to get to them, but the real question is why you should want to visit each individual one? Well, welcome to the Moray Incan Ruins. They are set apart from other ruins in their function. It is still not 100 percent certain what their use was, but archaeologists have a pretty good idea.
When you arrive after traveling the 50 kilometers northwest of Cuzco, you’ll be amazed by the accurate circles the round terraces have made into the earth. You walk up to the edge and stare down into the pit. How particular. Can you guess what they were used for? Perhaps not from first glance, but if you dig a little deeper, so to speak, you might feel the hint.
You’re at an elevation of some 3,500 meters. It’s quite chilly. However, after walking down to the bottom of the 98 foot deep depression, hopping from one terrace to another, you get to the bottom. The wind is gone and the sun is in a different position. That’s when you realize that it’s decidedly warmer or cooler at the bottom, depending on the time of day.
The temperature difference between the top terrace and the bottom point is upwards of 27 degrees Fahrenheit. The whole area is complemented by Incan irrigation prowess. The combination of the two; irrigation systems and a terraced depression of vast temperature differentiation, has led archaeologists to suggest that this site was used to experiment with different crops in different circumstances.
The site is located near the village of Maras, but you’ll probably prefer a good night sleep back at Pariwana Cuzco. The site is also near to the Maras Salt mines, which makes the two a good pair to see in a single day trip from Cuzco.