Moray’s mistery, an impressive archeological site located in Cusco

Terra Explorer
December 18, 2020

Within the Cusco Sacred Valley tour there are a great number of archaeological sites and landscapes that cannot be found anywhere else in the world, some more known than others.

Many people must have heard about the famous Salt Mines of Maras that are part of this valley and the adventure tourism activities. But, what many do not know, is that only 10 minutes away from this place, are the Moray terraces discovered approximately 90 years ago.

Meaning of “Moray”

meaning moray terraexplorer

We are not surprised that this word comes from Quechua, since it dates from the Inca period. What has not been discovered until now is the origin of this name.

There are some people who say that it is a contraction of the words Muyu (round) and Uruy (below or at the bottom); others that it comes from the word Aymora, which means corn harvest and also the month of May; finally, there are those who say that it comes from the word Moraya (dehydrated potato).

How to get from Cusco to Moray? 

The Moray archaeological center is located just 6 kilometers north of the town of Maras, which allows you to visit both places calmly on the same day. This Inca construction occupies approximately 36 hectares.

It is possible to get there by private car or public transportation, or better yet through an incredible mountain biking tour to Moray and Maras designed by our team of experts at Terra Explorer.

What can you expect when visiting Moray terraces?

Once you arrive at this place, the beauty and architectural perfection of the terraces, built almost 500 years ago, will make you feel like being on another planet.

The view towards them will make you remember different scenarios such as the perfection of the tactile prints, or an amphitheater for thousands of people; in the end, it will depend on your imagination what you can interpret when being there.

The deepest hole is 150 meters, and each terrace has a height of 1.80 meters, which allows for various microclimates on each platform.

Another incredible gift this place brings you is that being here; you can see some very important snow-capped mountains of the Andes Mountains, such as the snowy Pitusiray, Pumawanka, Chicón, and Verónica. 

Related: Beyond the Rainbow Mountain: The Red Valley


Moray terraces theories

There are some theories of the origin and use of these perfectly created terraces. These are some of them:

  • They were used as an agriculture investigation center.

Due to the height of each of the terraces, they have different temperatures that allowed them to plant different types of crops (more than 250 plant species). They were watered with a complex irrigation system and at the bottom of these, they had a rainwater storage system.

All this allowed the lands to have high fertility, where the best corn in the world was worked and harvested, great quality of potatoes, among other products. This shows us the excellent levels of knowledge that the Incas had.

  • They were used as an astronomic observatory

Some studies conclude that this place was used for the astronomical observation that allowed them to monitor the climate change of the Inca Empire through sunlight and the shadows generated by the mountains that surround this incredible center.

  • They had a cosmic origin

This theory is based on the fact that a meteorite that fell to the earth fragmented when entering the atmosphere and left nine craters, which allowed the Incas to create this perfection of terraces. This theory does not mean that they weren’t later used for agricultural research.

Related: 3 treks every pro should take in Cusco


What does Terra Explorer offer you?

A mountain bike tour through one of the most beautiful places in the Andes of Cusco: The Maras area. Our adventure begins in the town of Cruzpata, from where we will ride a bicycle to the circular ruins of Moray agricultural terraces

On the way, we will go through fields of crops, and we will have a spectacular view of the snowy Verónica and Chicón. To make the most of the beautiful nature that surrounds us, we will enjoy a delicious picnic outdoors.

Depending on the adventurer’s preference and experience, at Terra Explorer offers custom-made tours, and we adapt their duration to provide the perfect experience for everyone.

itineraries complex moray terraces terra explorer

Now that you know a little more about the complex of Moray terraces, do you want to visit this incredible place? At Terra Explorer, we have various itineraries for you. If you want to get to know Peru in an authentic and spectacular way, get in touch with us, and we will help you design the trip of your dreams!

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