31 January, 2020
The Incas left us a great legacy of archaeological and architectural sites that are preserved until today. Thanks to that we have been able to learn much of the history and culture of this empire that inhabited Peru around 100 years, between 1438 and 1533. One of the most fascinating places you can find in the sacred valley is Moray, an archaeological complex used by the Incas as an agricultural research center. Moray is one of the mandatory destinations on your visit to Cusco.
Moray platforms are terraces or agricultural platforms built in depressions or gigantic natural holes. These terraces are concentrically superimposed, taking the form of a gigantic amphitheater. The main hole has a depth of 150 m. and the average height of the platforms is 1.80 m. According to historians, these constructions constituted an important agricultural laboratory of the Incas. Since its platforms are built with their respective irrigation channels and each one of them constitutes a microclimate, what attracts the most attention is the large annual average temperature difference between the part and the bottom of the depressions, a difference that it has until 15 ° C.
The arrangement of the platforms produces a gradient of microclimates with the center of the circular platforms having a higher temperature and gradually being reduced to the outside at lower temperatures, thus being able to simulate up to 20 different types of microclimates. The microclimates of the platforms that surround the largest funnel (Qechuyoq) are distributed in sectors of four contiguous levels, each sector with its own micro-climatic characteristics. The four lower platforms that belong to sector 1 are wetter and have low soil temperatures due to the greater evapotranspiration of water. The soils of the platforms of the sector 2 have average annual temperatures of 2º to 3ºC higher. The soils of sector 3 have temperatures that may be higher or lower according to the variation in solar exposure during the seasons. The months of greatest micro climatic differentiation are those of the dry season (May, June, July) and the sowing season (August, September, October, November). Various types of products could be sown, according to studies, in Moray the Incas managed to grow more than 250 types of vegetables. But some scholars of the Inca Empire speak of Moray as a center also dedicated to astronomical observation and the prediction of meteorological phenomena.
Like many other places in Cusco, the word Moray comes from Quechua. There are several versions about the origin of this term. For some, the word Moray had something to do with the corn crop called Aymoray, and also with the dehydrated potato that is Moraya or Moray.