Moray, which sits at an altitude of 3,500 meters above sea level, is located 62 kilometers from Cusco, and 7 kilometers west of the town of Maras. The enigmatic site has raised questions since its discovery in 1932. Boasting impressive, circular terracing, Moray looks like a giant fingerprint in the earth. Despite the many theories as to what this site was used for – which vary from astronomical observatory to cult site – the general consensus claims that Moray served as a giant agricultural laboratory used by the Incas.
The 47 to 87 meter deep terraces found here were cut into the limestone in concentric circles, creating almost an inverted cone shape that dips into the earth. These different levels created about 20 microclimates that allowed for the Incas to experiment with an array of crops, showcasing their incredible agricultural knowledge. Due to the varying temperatures on the terraces, the Incas were able to grow a variety of goods here – from local Andean grains like quinoa and kiwicha, to warmer climate crops like pumpkin and squash, as well as multiple varieties of potato.
Reminiscent of an amphitheater, the terraces of Moray were built upon containment walls filled with fertile soil, and watered through a complex irrigation system. This helped the Incas take full advantage of the thermal differences between the outer and inner levels of the site, where they grew over 250 different plant species. It is thought that, with their gained knowledge and experience from creating and working this site, the Incas organized the agricultural production in all of Tahuantinsuyo.
DO NOT MISS
- ‘M I L’ , the new, innovative restaurant of celebrated Peruvian chef Virgilio Martinez (Central) is located only 500 meters from the Moray site. Request a visit to the establishment on one of our private services.
You can find some more pictures of this incredible destination on Instagram.