Few conquests have been as devastatingly final as the annihilation of the legendary kingdom of the Incas. In under 40 years after their first encounter with Francisco Pizzaro in 1532, the Incas were history. Their gold looted, their religion wiped out and their architecture demolished.
With the exception of Machu Picchu and a few other uninhabited ‘lost’ abodes that the conquistadors were unaware of, almost all of their cities were completely destroyed. The only witness to their existence: the vestiges of their exquisite stonework in the foundations of colonial buildings.
On a weekday the main square in the village of Cinchero was evocative of this tragedy. Empty and spookily silent like a deserted frontier town. The square is dominated by a 16th century church dedicated to “Our Lady of Montserrat of Chinchero”, constructed on top of a former Incan palace. Spare and simple on the outside, the interior is beautifully decorated with an ornate ceiling and large oil paintings by Quechuan artists.
Our guide pointed out the heavy symbolism in the artwork covertly depicting native religious symbols in the shapes of the Virgin’s robes and the mountains beyond, that somehow escaped the eyes of the “idolatries extirpators”, as it would have ours!
Adjacent are more stone walls, and arenas where young Incan boys would fight mock battles to mark their passage into adulthood and to train to become warriors. Most of this is deduced from ancient lore passed on in an oral tradition, for they did not leave behind a written language. The rest is pieced together from the works of Spanish historians.
We were initially disappointed about having missed the Sunday market. But in the end we were glad we came on a quiet day when we could sit in the middle of the square with nary a soul in sight and listen to our guide’s passionate narration of the fascinating stories of his ancestors.
Until next time……..happy travels, no matter where life takes you.
80 thoughts on “The Andean Village Of Cinchero”
Beautiful photos. I remember studying the kingdom of the Incas’ way back in elementary school. Your post makes me want to refresh my memories on the subject more.
BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!
Thank you Francine 🙂
Vivid colors. Having a guide who is passionate about his culture and history just made the experience all the more valuable. Thanks for sharing this history.
yes the guide enhanced our experience. Thank YOU for reading and commenting Lynne
Great shots – which makes it possible for the viewer to create a view of Inca life also in the present… 😉
Thank you Ledrake 🙂
Great posts as always.Amazing photo.
Thank You for sharing and be blessed!
Thank you so much Milena 🙂
What a fascinating place, and I love the colours.
It was truly fascinating and one of the less touristy villages in the sacred valley. Appreciate the visit Lucy
That’s terrific Madhu, and beautifully shot, as always.
Thank you. Glad you liked it. Your Meemure post was unforgettable.
Thank you Madhu:)
Beautiful post ,Thanks for sharing 🙂
Thank YOU for the great prompts Jake 🙂
Fascinating and informative. A great historical photo tour!
Thank you Fergiemoto.
Each picture tells its story … Thank you for the wonderful post, Madhu!
Thank YOU for your generous support Amy 🙂
Hi Madhu, these are really lovely photos, and the storytelling is great.
Thank you Naomi.
Love the history lesson, Madhu; and the photos are beautiful too!
Thanks Angeline 🙂
Fascinating history….I love the vivid colors of your photos!
Thank you Elisa 🙂
Now I have to visit the southern hemisphere
You do Indra 🙂 There is so much to see in South America. The distance is offputting though. We haven’t done Australia either.
Beautiful photos and background history of a civilization that was nearly wiped out. It’s terrible how much culture, history, information is lost when a new power tries to erase what existed before them. The same has happened in the Americas (when the explorers first came to its shores), ancient Egypt and many other places.
Thanks Judy. I am always deeply saddened to see how much we have lost to war and plunder. Appreciate your sharing your thoughts
I envy the way you post your travels. So much to this place worth mentioning. You totally did an outstanding job sharing it to us.
Actually, it’s quite haunting to read. The interesting displays of action and images at the end made up for it though. Hehe
Thanks Rommel. I figure the statistics are out there for any one that can google. I try to convey the feel of the place 🙂
It is wonderful photography, I felt as if I visited those places directly. Superp.
Thank you Shanthi. I am not able to link to your Gravatar. Are you a blogger?
What a great post, Madhu! Thank you for such beautiful shots and info!
Glad you enjoyed it Marina. Thank YOU for reading
A very thought provoking post…this bit of history is depressing, but so very important to remember.
I really think so TBM. I always feel sad about all that we have lost.
Every time I visit I get a serious case of travel envy! 🙂
Like I envy you your photography skills! Glad you liked it 🙂
Interesting post that I enjoyed reading.
Thank you so much
Oh boy! Amazing pics & facts! Now I reeeeeaaaaally can’t wait for my trip to Peru!
Thank you Zoe 🙂 When do you leave for Peru?
Happy (Early) Fourth of July, Madhu! … I’m off to Peru in the early fall, and just starting to buy all my gear this week so it’s beginning to feel a little more “real”! Thanks for asking! =D
Thanks so much for your wonderful photos and narrative, Madhu. The artwork on that church portal is lovely. It’s invaluable to have a really good guide on these tours, isn’t it? 🙂
The church was even more beautiful inside AD. Yes, good guides are a huge asset on these trips.
Beautiful photos…having lived in South America, it also brought back some poignant memories. Thank you for sharing.
Thank you, and welcome to my blog 🙂 Did you live in Peru?
No, I lived in Cartagena, Colombia
How wonderful! We so wanted to go to Cartagena, but only had so much time. Someday hopefully…….
The history itself is well worth a visit. It’s a beautiful place…very HOT! But beautiful and I found the people to be really wonderful.
Amazing the layers of history, Madhu: the 16th century church on the Incan base. The very thought of the battles in that arena is incredibly evocative. Thank you, once again, for a beautiful post!
Glad you enjoyed it Kate. Thanks for the comments
Brilliant photos Madhu! Great writing too!
Oh thank you Mimo! Apreciate that.
Exquisite post, Madhu — both photography and essay!
Thank you so much for the visit and comment
I didn’t realise I was reading a Sunday post entry till I got to the end Madhu. I was simply engrossed in the pictures and the story.
Thank you Jo 🙂
Wow, I love civilizations with a deep history and interesting cultural roots. Thanks for sharing!
Me too 🙂 Thank you for your visit and comment.
Thank you Colline.
Such an exciting and fascinating village to visit. So much history, with a very colorful past and culture. Thanks for sharing them…
Than YOU for reading Island traveller
Amazing, amazing photographs.
Thank you for your kind words Ledia 🙂
You are very welcome, Madhu.
Thanks DJ 🙂
A wonderful travelog Madhu!
Thank you Gilly.
Awesome shots here too. I love the rich colors of the area… can’t beat that. 😉
Thanks Elizabeth 🙂
The story of the Incas is compelling. And your photos always perfectly illuminate your story! It must take you forever to choose photos for the posts. Of course, I can’t get enough of the pictures. What I want to know, really, is how you remember the SPELLING of the names of the places and of the historical characters! 😉
Thank you George. I usually write it down or refer my guidebook. And there is always Google if all else fails 🙂
I had been following your blog but realized I was not receiving emails of new posts. I think I have figured it out so I will now receive them. I have some catching up to do! I love your photos and descriptions of the Incan plight. We spent a year in Mexico and took an 8-day took of many archaeological sites and found them all to be fascinating. Looking forward to reading more of your posts!
Appreciate that LuAnn & Terry. Mexico is a longstanding dream. Hope to get there someday and to some more places in South America…..health and budget willing 🙂