Located about 50 miles from Cuenca, in the province of Cañar, Ingapirca, a pre-Columbian ruin, is easily Ecuador’s largest and best preserved archaeological complex and is the northern major archeological site of the Inca empire north of Peru.

Ingapirca means “Wall of the Inca” and its construction combines the coppery brown of adobe used by Cañari culture with the bluish-green andesite stones brought subsequently by the Incas. It was built with millions of stones, in the middle of the 18th century. These ruins stand out, both for the extraordinary work of masonry in stone blocks that make up its walls, as well as the originality appreciated in the design of its main structure, a tall and bulky elliptical platform known as the “Castle of Ingapirca”. 

The main purpose behind the Ingapirca structure is not known for certain. Several historians and archaeologists agree on the fact that it was built under the direct orders of the Inca Huayna Cápac, during the battles for territorial expansion and conquest of towns that the Inca Túpac Yupanqui, his father and predecessor, began years ago for the territories that today comprise the South of Ecuador.

Apparently, it was a place to aid in military strategies, but it seems to have been used mainly as a place of worship and veneration to the Sun, the maximum God of the Incas.

Ingapirca emerged as a new parish of the canton, Cañar on May 1st 1919 after petitions from its inhabitants was placed under the initiative and leadership of the priest Don Luis Sarmiento. Up to then, it had been one of many farming communities in the rural parish of El Tambo.

At about 10,433 feet elevation, the climate is considerably colder than Cuenca. With panoramic views, the sight of the Inca Empire’s only remaining sun temple stands proudly on a hill surrounding the Cañar province countryside.

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