One of the most striking aspects of Ollantaytambo is to be found in the extensive agricultural terraces. These start at the base of the valley and climb the surrounding hills. The development of this type of farming was unique to the Incas in the ancient world, and permitted farming in an otherwise hostile high altitude and impractical environment. By creating independent ecological zones through the clever layout of terraces, the Inca were able to create differing growing zones of a plethora of vegetables, herbs and plants by adjustments in altitude.
Storing the crops needed for so many workers was another challenge met in uniquely Incan style. Large storehouses made of fieldstones were built on hills surrounding the town. These storehouses featured unique ventilation systems as a part of their design, where low temperatures and strong winds combined to enhance storage ability.
When walking through the Old Town section, one feels like they are walking through time. It was built by the Incas over 500 years ago, and is still inhabited. Ancient sandals stepped into these courtyards, and have left their prints in the dust ever since, including your own tracks. Much of the town is still laid out the way it was in Inca times. Irrigation systems and aqueducts constructed here for the intricate agricultural system so long ago are still in use today.
Ollantaytambo was many things to the Incas; a military, administrative, political, religious, agricultural and residential complex, and one of the largest cities discovered by the Spanish conquistadors.
Although overshadowed in most minds by Macchu Picchu, Ollantaytambo is well worth seeing. It is a beautiful old Incan town with cobblestone streets, surrounded by mountains. History, beauty, and a unique setting make this living Inca city a definite destination place.