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Other towns in the Sacred Valley
Urubamba is the largest town in the Sacred Valley, and is in a very beautiful position with the snow-capped Chicón sitting behind the town. The town is very attractive, although there are no ruins nearby. It makes a good base for walking in the surrounding mountains. Pablo Seminario has a workshop in the town and produces some wonderful ceramics.
Pisac is a small market town used by villagers from all around the Sacred Valley. Apart from the traditional market, it now caters extensively for the tourists who visit and there is a crafts market.
The main attraction near the town is the Inca site of Pisac situated above the town. This can be reached either by road or by walking up from the town. The walk up is beautiful, although quite steep, and takes around 1½ hours. The walk down takes around 1 hour. The ruins are very extensive, and it would be easy to spend the best part of the day here, especially if walking up and down from the town below. This is one of the finest Inca sites in the Cusco area. Entrance to the site is by the Tourist Ticket.
The site was a very important Inca centre, and contains many very fine ceremonial buildings, housing and agricultural terracing, as well as some very impressive defensive structures. From its size and the buildings in the complex, it appears that Pisac was probably an important ceremonial and administrative centre, as well as a large town. The main ceremonial centre, around the Intihuatana, contains some superb Inca stonework. As with all major Inca centres, this area contains the Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Moon, some fine ritual baths and an Intihuatana stone, which was used for measuring the position of the sun. There are many other areas in the Pisac ruins, and it is well worth exploring the site.
Calca is considered the capital of the Sacred Valley, although Urubamba is actually larger. It is in a very beautiful location at the encounter of two valleys, and the snow-capped mountains in the background are wonderful. The Plaza de Armas is large and attractive, with an interesting church. It is said that the Inca Viracocha had a palace here, although there are now no remains of this.
There is not much in the way of tourism in Calca, although there are a few things worth visiting nearby. The ruins of Huchuy Cusco are a pleasant walk from here, although it is slightly further than from Lamay. The town of Machacancha, 8km from Calca entering the other valley, has some hot thermal baths and some pre-Inca ruins.