Maras Cusco, Maras of the Sacred Valley
Maras is a town located 48 km northwest of the city of Cusco, 12 km from Urubamba and 3028 meters above sea level. The temperature fluctuates between 1 to 21 degrees Celsius.
Maras was an important town during the viceroyalty (it was the main supplier of salt of the southern mountain range), as it is demonstrated by the church and the houses that still preserve the coats of arms of indigenous nobility in their facades. The houses are made of adobe, white walls with blue roofs and windows, the streets are made of stone and mud. On the lintels you can read inscribed in stone the date on which they were built, their owner or some shield or ornament.
Maras was founded by the Spaniards in 1556, and was in charge of the encomendero Pedro Ortiz de Orue, whose house is located one block from the main square, on the lintel of its door reads the details of its owner, it was he who instituted this custom, which is still in force today. It is recommended to see the house belonging to the Inca Tupac Sinchi Roca (Jerusalem 249), the Jesuit façade (Jerusalem 233), the façade of Sancho Usca Paucar (Jerusalem 245) that surprises by its work and ornamentation.
The San Francisco Church of Assisi ordered to be built by Orue, has four altarpieces of baroque style of the seventeenth century, with beautiful carvings and covered with gold leaf. It has paintings on its walls by the painter from the Cusco school Antonio Sinchi Roca, with scenes from the Gospel and portraits of saints.
At present the main economic activity of Maras is agriculture. Among its most visited attractions, the Salineras, located 10 km. from the town, stand out. Very close is the Andenes de Moray.
Moray is made up of 4 slightly elliptical galleries, which the locals call “muyus”. The largest gallery has a depth of 45 m and the average height of each platform is 1.80 m.
For the researchers, the circular platforms of Moray functioned as an agricultural research center, where each level offered a different climatic environment allowing different plants to be grown experimentally.
The platforms were built on retaining walls filled with fertile soil. They were irrigated using complex irrigation systems. At the bottom of the platforms, there is a system that stores the water coming from the rains. Following this practice, more than 250 plant species were cultivated.
Other studies indicate that the site was used for astronomical observation and to monitor the climatic changes that could occur, by tracking the sunlight and shadows generated by the high mountains of the area.