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Moray: Archaeological Center and Agricultural Laboratory

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As part of the Sacred Valley of the Incas, Moray is one of the archaeological centers that the Inca empire bequeathed to us and that remain to this day. Probably built between the years 1438 and 1533, this fascinating archaeological center shows us the high level of techno-agricultural management that this town reached.


Meaning of the name or Etymology:

The word Moray, not only because of the ancestral use that was given to it in the Incan times, but also because of similar words found in Spanish chronicles, is closely related to agriculture, more precisely to the harvest, since said words mentioned are Aymoray that It was the name that the Incas gave to the month in which the harvest period occurs in the time of the Incas and in turn the moraya, a Quechua word in current use that is used to describe the dehydrated potato.


Muyu, is another Quechua term that it resembles, this word means circle



Moray is located at 3,400 meters above sea level, between the territories of the Kaccllaraqay and Misminay communities, about 70 kilometers northeast of the city of Cusco and 7 kilometers from the town of Maras in the province of Urubamba.


Climate and temperature in Moray

As we constantly mention, the climate of the entire Cusco region corresponds to a single pattern, which is found in the rainy period between the months of November to April and in the dry and cold period between the period of May to October, without However, the climatic factor also strongly influences the temperature of the place, since it is located on a plain surrounded by glaciers, which make the temperature generally cool and dry.


The maximum temperature of the place is 18 degrees Celsius that annually averages 16 degrees Celsius and a minimum of -6 degrees Celsius with an average of 0 degrees Celsius per year.



The territory in which Moray is located belonged in pre-Inca times to the Maras Ayar Macas tribes that also dominated the sacred valley, when it was annexed to the Inca empire, the geographical depressions were used for the construction of the set in question, and If we consider that this was a production calculation model and plant adaptation center with platforms that represent the various altitudinal floors of the Andes, as recent studies say, this would indicate that it was already built with the great geographical expansion that Pachacútec began. Already after the defeat of the Chancas, because only in this way did they get to know most of what would later be the vast Inca empire.


Already after the arrival of the Spanish in 1533 there is no news of its use and this place was forgotten and buried in a vast vegetation that was discovered in 1532 by Shirppe Johnson's who discovered them while flying over the place.


Function and use of the archaeological center of Moray

Moray was an Inca-use agricultural research center that used a method similar to the technique we know today as spiral cultivation, which, as you can see, is used to grow plants with diverse environmental needs, with the difference that in this case It has natural depressions in which structures similar to an amphitheater were built, specifically platforms approximately 1.8 m high, in the form of superimposed concentric circles that gradually expand, and in which it has been proven, there are up to 20 microclimates or temperatures different, each platform representing, as John Earls says, a difference of about a thousand meters, because as you go down, the temperature rises and as you go up, the temperature goes down. It is possible that this place was used as a calculation model for agricultural production of the entire Tahuantinsuyo and, in turn, as an experimental center that allowed plants from other altitudes to be adapted, achieving the cultivation and adaptation of around 60% of the plants currently in use. consume in the Andes, all for a better management of production at the state level,


The 12 terraces that make up the best-preserved group called Qechuyoq, which has an approximate depth of 150 meters, is divided into three groups of 4 terraces that have different temperatures and characteristics, for example, the first 4 terraces at the base of the complex are more humid. and have lower ground temperatures, this due to greater transpiration, platforms 5, 6, 7 and 8 have temperatures 2 to 3 degrees Celsius higher than the first, and finally the last 4 have higher temperatures than the lower platforms , but that vary depending on the exposure to the sun, the greatest climatic difference between these platforms can be observed between the months of May and November.


For his part, historian Edward Ronney indicates that this place was probably used for the development of special or prized crops such as coca leaves.


Some other opinions consider the place a center for astronomical observation and prediction of astronomical phenomena.


Moray Raymi:

On October 8 of each year, a festival takes place in which the inhabitants celebrate the so-called Moray Raymi, a celebration closely related to agriculture, which is celebrated with traditional dances with this specific theme, as well as ritual ceremonies called payment. to the earth.


How to get to Moray

On your own

To get to Moray on your own, you must take one of the buses that reroute the Cusco Urubamba route, which you can take from the famous Pavitos street and get off at the well-known detour from which you must take another transport to finally reach the place.


In taxi

Either from the town of Urubamba or from Cusco, you can hire a private taxi service that will take you not only to Moray, but also to Maras, making a journey that will take only half a day.


With a travel agency doing an excursion from Cusco

Although you could safely venture to visit this beautiful attraction, the best option to carry out this activity is with a travel agency in any of the following modalities:


Regular group tour with transportation available.

A classic group tour will allow you to visit not only Moray but also Maras and depending on the type of service, also Ollantaytambo and other attractions of the Sacred Valley of the Incas. Want to know more about our services click here.


Visit in ATVs

A visit on ATVs will allow you to live an adventure in a different way aboard an ATV along the route where there will be different stops that will allow you to appreciate Maras, Moray and the surrounding landscapes in a different way. Want to know more about our services, check here.


View on bikes:

One last option to enjoy this adventure will take you on bicycles, through the routes of Maras and Moray, touring these impressive with a totally different service. Want to know more click here.


Tips and recommendations for visiting Moray

To visit Moray there are several things that you must take into account before starting your trip:


Remember that, in order to visit the place, you must purchase the Cusco tourist ticket and that it is impossible to buy an independent ticket in such a way that you only have two options, buy a full ticket, or buy a partial one, more information is desired for this ticket, click here.


The most recommended option is to hire the services of a professional guide and consequently those of a travel agency.

The view to the place is not very long, take the opportunity to visit other sites such as Maras and Chinchero, and even adding these attractions you could make these visits before taking the train that would take you to Machupichu.


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