The village of Pisaq is one of the first towns you reach as you travel over the pass to the Sacred Valley. The village is known for its market that is open daily offering textiles, weavings, and handicrafts. There is a beautiful tree in the central plaza called the Pisonay tree. The Cathedral of Senor del Huanca is a few miles from Pisac at the base of Mt. Pachatusan. Above the town of Pisaq is an archaeological park with the same name, with some of the finest Inca terraces and stone walls. Similar to Machu Picchu, there is an Intihuatana, or hitching post of the sun. The ruins overlook the majestic Urubamba River and adobe homes below. You can see partridges at dusk and golden winged falcons at sunrise as you hike up the trail from the town.
Historically, an Inca road went up the canyon and entered the Urumbamba River area near Pisaq. This route connected the villages all the way to Paucartambo near the Eastern jungles. There is a natural rock and mountain structure called “the princess of the flowering skirt”. One of the legends is that she was the only daughter and was proclaimed to receive all the lands of Pisaq. In this same legend, the story predicts that she will marry the man who builds a bridge over the Urubamba River in one night.
The main mountain of Pisaq is in the shape of a condor or falcon with its head at the top ridges and its wings flowing down all of the terraces. The condor is one of the largest birds in the world with a wingspan of over three meters. It is very rare to see a condor in the Sacred Valley, but many visitors see them at Colca Canyon beyond the city of Arequipa. Condors have a bald head and a collar of white feathers, and fly over 6,000 meters above sea level. The symbol of the condor is everywhere in Peru on statues, ceramics and weavings. Shamans will call in the spirit of the condor for protection, and the condor is known to assist a persons transition to the other world beyond death. The condor carries many myths and legends throughout Peru and is an archetypal spirit in both the Mountains and the Valleys.
Some of the rooms in Pisaq have stonework specifically aligned with the changing of seasons. You can hike up the trail from the village and it will take about an hour depending on your adjustment to the altitude. The physical challenge is an excellent way to strengthen the body, mind, and soul. Pisaq is a place for visioning and dreaming your world into being. This is a fabulous site for journey work and creating a mandala or sand painting.
In the village, Ulrike’s Restaurant is known for pumpkin soups, vegetarian meals and incredible brownies and a great place to stop for lunch. The local villagers offer for sale artifacts and some of the finest carvings, ceramics, and rattles. Pisaq is also known as the Temple of the Falcon.