The Pisac Piper

The Pisac Piper (note the stone steps in the wall)
We began our walk down through the terraced fortress ruins of Pisac and I thought I kept hearing the sounds of pipe music. The ruins are from the time of the Incas and are perched on the top of a mountain above the Urubamba River and the Sacred Valley. The ruin’s most striking feature is the system of steep agricultural terraces that descend and wrap around the mountain, almost all the way to the Urubamba River. The Pisac ruins were built by the Incas for military, religious and agricultural reasons and the terraces were the result of hauling topsoil up from the valley floor. From the height of the ruins to the valley floor is approximately 4,000 feet and it takes 3-4 hours to walk down.

We walked past the baths and temple complex and the pipe music got louder. It was late afternoon and the sun was starting to go down and we were some of the last people walking down the mountain. We took a break and admired the stone work of the terraced retaining walls and the protruding stone steps (see photo above) that enabled moving from one level to the other without undermining structural integrity. Just then the piper appeared to our side. He stood above a stone retaining wall, wore a dirty chullo and poncho and sandals and concentrated on his music. He played a single-cylinder flute and not the pan pipes that are so common in the Andes. His music floated out and seemed to descend to the valley floor.

Pisac is visited by many tourists so despite the beauty of his music, I felt that at some point he would approach us, chullo in hand, looking for money, but he never came near us, nor acknowledged our presence. The Pisac Piper seemed content to simply share his beautiful music.


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  2. Never heard of Pisac. I'm learning heaps about the Andes region from you :)

  3. Dear T&S,

    I will check out your site. Thanks for stopping by.

  4. Hi Sophie,
    When are you going to get to South America? You would love it.

  5. I really enjoyed this post, Jason! It sounds like a very special experience. I need to go to Peru!

  6. It's a haunting place and that music would only make it more so. Great stuff.