One of the most visually stunning Inca ruins is at Moray, an archaeological site in Peru approximately 50 km northwest of Cuzco and just west of the village of Maras. In a large bowl-like depression, is constructed a series of concentric terraces that looks like an ancient Greek amphitheater. The largest of these terraces are at the center – they are enormous in size, and descend to a depth of approximately 150 meter, leading to a circular bottom so well drained that it never completely floods, no matter how plentiful the rain.
The concentric terraces are split by multiple staircases that extend upward like spokes of a wheel and enable people to walk from the top to the bottom of the bowl. Six more terraces, in connected ellipses rather than perfect circles, surround the concentric heart of Moray, and eight terraced steps that cover only a fraction of the perimeter overlook the site. The purpose of these depressions is uncertain, but the most widely agreed theory is they used to serve as ‘agricultural research station’.
A view of Nueva Esperanza cemetery during the Day of the Dead celebrations in Villa Maria, Lima November 1, 2012. Each year people visit the cemetery, one of Latin America’s largest, to honour the dead. Picture: Enrique Castro-Mendivil/Reuters