The origin of the name has several focuses. According to the Aymara language, Ollantaytambo derives from the word ulla-nta-wi, which means “place to see down”; the term tambo, is added later. For the Quechua language, the name comes from the word Ollanta (which is the name of an Inca captain, whose story was kept as an oral tradition, and written as a drama by Antonio Valdez, priest of Urubamba, in the mid-eighteenth century) and of the term, tambo, a Spanish derivation of the Quechua word tampu; which means, “city that offers accommodation, food and comfort to travelers”.
It is 2,750 meters high, and as we have indicated, both its design and the foundations of most of its buildings correspond to the time of the Incario.
It occupies several ecological levels, from the low mountainous dry forest to the nival formations. The urban population is on the banks of the Vilcanota River (Willkamayo) that forms the Urubamba Valley.
The climate approaches the ideal for human life and for traditional agricultural activity. Of pluvial precipitation. The environment is dry but can vary up to slightly humid, change caused by low temperatures in winter and evaporation ratios; sudden changes in atmospheric pressure cause strong winds from midday. The archaeological complex of Ollantaytambo was a strategic military, religious and agricultural center. The architectural scene is of exceptional interest for the size, style and originality of its buildings.
The continuity in time is no less remarkable than the unity in space; With five thousand years of existence, from the birth of the villages in the Neolithic to the collapse in the sixteenth century, the cultural archetypes were essentially the same, from Chavín to the dizzying expansion of the Incas and their final collapse in 1572.
There is no doubt that the Incas were great builders, and not because they have created buildings like Qorikancha, Sacsayhuaman, Macchu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Choquequirao and others, but because they felt and understood the architecture from the root, from the plane, from the constructive.
Ollantaytambo is architecture of closed and empty spaces. The buildings and walls delimit and constitute a spatial quantity. The individual construction is conceived as a function of this unit and is absorbed by it. In Ollantaytambo, the empty space is what governs the mass, the shape and even the situation of temples, altars, palaces, pyramidal structure and terraces. The experience of Ollantaytambo is precisely what encloses the constructions and how they enclose it; how they merge into a great and sonorous chord. A unique and unique planning for the way it is conceived and carried out. The architectural expressions here took a breath of sublime majesty, as if the Incas had wanted to express with the stone, the ideas of eternity and greatness with which they conceived their divinities. There are Qosqo Ayllu, La Fortaleza and the Great Pyramid.
Inca drama and the ethnohistory of Ollantaytambo
Ollantaytambo was engraved in the memory of the world thanks to a drama written in the sixteenth century, and represented in the theater in the year 1780. The story tells the conflicting love between General Ollanta and Cusi Coyllor, the daughter of Pachacutec. Ollanta was distinguished from the other generals of the empire for his bravery and great ability, but he had to leave the city disappointed by not being able to love a girl who did not belong to his social class. Already far, Ollanta prompted the population to rebel against the imperial army, causing a war that lasted a decade. Finally, our hero was captured by the treachery of Captain Rumiñahui, and taken to Cusco before Tupac Yupanqui; who, after listening to the story, decided to release him and accept him as his sister’s companion.
When contemplating the diverse architectonic expressions of the archaeological complex of Ollantaytambo, a suspension of the mind immediately invades to us; the mass of stone, carved enigma, paralyzes our gaze. It does not matter what the sensation happens to that moment of immobility: admiration, enthusiasm, curiosity, stupor; reality, once again, without ceasing to be what it is, seems to be shown as that which is beyond what we see. Among the features of the Andean civilization are originality, isolation, homogeneity in space and continuity over time.
The continuity in time is no less remarkable than the unity in space; With five thousand years of existence, from the birth of the villages in the Neolithic to the collapse in the sixteenth century, the cultural archetypes were essentially the same, from Chavín to the dizzying expanse of Incas expansion and its final collapse in 1572.