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Arts & Culture

INGAPIRCA RUINS

Originally, the Incas had an impressively large system of roads here in Ecuador, measuring about 5,000 kilometers in length; a larger system than the Roman Empire had. Today, there exists few remnants of this road system, but what is left is incredibly interesting.

Located about 17 km from Cañar are the historical ruins of Ingapirca (meaning Wall of the Inca), stand as the most important archiological memory in Ecuador. Originally, it was contrusted as an inn for Incan couriers and other travellers, later fortified under the control of the Cañaris of Huayna Capac, later being expanded and used as a lodge for troops, a resting place for the emperor and a temple, build in the style of Coricancha, the main temple of Cuzco.The ruins of Ingapirca, an ellipse-shaped fortress made of green diorite, is still appreciated with great pleasure and by the whole world today, as it was 500 years ago.

Unfortunatelly, after the domination of the Spaniards, Ingapirca was dismantled. The rocks from the walls were stolen and used to contruct neighbouring Spanish settlements. Despite this deconstruction, there were some constructions which were preserved in the surroundings where the temple once stood. Some of these are Ingachungana, where there is a ceremonial altar at which most likely sacrifices had taken place, the "Silla del Inca" (Throne of the Inca), a throne carved out of rock, and "Cara del Inca" (Face of the Inca), a natural rock formation.

Even though they don't have the colossal dimensions of Cuzco, Ingapirca is, however, a direct testimony of how the Incas lived, their mechanisms of defense and integration of other ancient Incan constructions.

The site of Ingapirca, or Wall of the Inca is located 2° 32' south of the equator and 78° 52' west of Greenwich. The ruins are placed at about 3160 meters above sea level, and the average temperature there is usually between 6º and 12º C.

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