The Ollantaytambo Pueblo is in the Sacred Valley of the Inca is in the Andes Mountains. It is about a 1-½ hour drive from Cusco. Ollantaytambo is at an altitude of 9,160 feet (2,792 meters) above sea level.
The name “Tambo” is Quecha for a station with lodging and storehouses.
Ollantaytambo was built by the Incas to be the strongest fortress in the entire Inca Empire. It was built in a deep valley on inaccessible rocks and could be thus defended easily by a few men against a great number of enemies.
Ollantaytambo Pueblo was the site of the only defeat of the Spanish by the Inca defenders. The Incas dug big holes throughout the approach to Ollantaytambo and flooded the valley when the Spaniards came on horseback. The horses and men fell into these pits. The Incas last stand was at the Fortress of Ollantaytambo where they threw rocks and boulders down on their enemies the Spaniards.
Ollantaytambo helped provide the food for the development of the Incan empire. The Ollantaytambo Pueblo and the surrounding valley have a relatively warm climate and fertile soil creating a favorable location for farming.
Prehistoric farming systems were first introduced in the Peruvian Andes over 4000 years ago, with rain-fed terracing systems in the mountains. The transition to irrigated highland terraces was made later.
In the case of the Ollantaytambo Pueblo there is no evidence of very early terracing. No irrigated terraces have been confirmed prior to the end of the first millennium AD.
During the time of the Inca Empire, Ollantaytambo Pueblo did not exceed 8,000 residents. They produced enough food to provide for over 180,000 people within the Inca Empire.
Pre-Inca people used landscape modification for soil conservation and farming reasons. At the time of Inca Empire building, population growth and redistribution, the Incas appear to have been used as part of a strategy for food security.
This food was stored in Granaries that you can see examples across from Kamma Guest House in the ruins of Pinkulluna. These Granaries were located seven leagues or about twenty-one miles march from each other. This is how the Incas were able to provide for their army on the march as well as providing food to other populations that did not produce enough food for their people.
The King’s, the Sun’s (their deity) and the people’s food were stored in separate Granaries.
Iskay means in the Quechua language “two”. Hostal Iskay has two garden terraces in which you can view the Fortress of Ollytaytombo.
Grab yourself a cup of coffee or tea from the table inside of Hostal Iskay and from the lower level you can sit and view the Fortress of Ollytaytombo while listening to the waterfall that was is there.
The upper level garden terrace is right outside of the reception area. You will notice that there are many geraniums and other flowering plants.
Hostal Iskay has put a lot of effort into these two terraces so that you can enjoy the peace and quiet while you view the Fortress of Ollytaytombo.