The Inca Empire ruled over the Andean mountains and beyond of what are today the modern countries of Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina, including an area of nearly one million square kilometers (about 386,000 square miles) and extending a length of 4,000 kilometers (2500 miles) from north to south along the great South American continent.
Archaeological sites of the Incan empire range in size and complexity from villages to temples to lonely waystations to isolated ritual burial sites and enormous metropolises like Cuzco: but the best known and most visited of these sites are the ceremonial centers such as Machu Picchu and Ollantaytambo.
1. Ollantaytambo (Peru)
Ollantaytambo is an Incan royal estate and ceremonial center, built for Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui in the 15th century AD. It is remarkable for its pinkish color, and its storage facilities, granaries built into the side of the nearby mountain.
2. Coricancha (Peru)
The Coricancha was the religious center of the Inca empire at Cuzco, the starting point of the shrine and pilgrimage route of the Inca ceque system. At the eye of Cuzco's puma, the Coricancha was reported by the conquering Spanish to have been clad in gold plate. Today it is the foundation of the Church of Santo Domingo in Cuzco.
3. Rumiqolqa Quarry (Peru)
The quarry site of Rumiqolqa was used by the Inca as a source for the quartzite which makes up much of the archaeological sites of Machu Picchu and Sacsayman, as well as many of the communities in Cuzco
4. Choquequirao (Peru)
The site of Choquequirao is yet another elite residence and ceremonial center of the Inca, probably built by the emperor Topa Inca Yupanqui, who ruled between 1471 and 1493. It has architectural styles to the conquered Chachapoya state, including some delightful inlaid art work
5. Sacsaywaman (Peru)
Sacsaywaman, pronounced something like "sexy woman" is an Incan ceremonial center, and the only known Incan site that can truly be called megalithic. Its largest stones are six to seven times as large as the largest at Stonehenge. And... Sacsaywaman is blue.
6. Q'enqo (Peru)
Q'enqo, sometimes spelled Kenko, is actually four different shrines on the Inca Road near Sacsaywaman. The best known, Q'enqo Grande, includes an astronomical purpose, only shreds of which remain after the Spanish conquered Cuzco and did their best to destroy such blasphemies.
7. Machu Picchu (Peru)
Machu Picchu is surely the best known Inca archaeological site, and perhaps one of most famous sites in the world. Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century by the Inca emperor Pachucuti, as an elite residence and ceremonial center