on sunday we went to Ingapirca which was really cool. we first went to this beautiful chapel and we got to climb up to the top of the outside of the chapel where there was a gorgeous view. this chapel has a legend that all the animals and crops in the area were dying so a man came upon this area and prayed to the virgin for water and somehow she created a source of water. the virgin is really sacred to this chapel for that reason and inside there were a few statues of her. the inside was quaint yet beautifully decorated.
then we stopped at a roadside vendor and they were cooking and selling chancho and llapinganchas. chancho is pig. there was a whole pig that still looked alive but was roasting on a spit. the woman then started shaving skin off the pigs backside and i was like no way are we eating that! but we all tried a little piece with salt and mote which is kind of like corn. it actually wasnt too bad as long as i didnt think about where it came from. the llapinganchas are potato pancakes and they were super good.
we then traveled through this wealthy pueblo that had huge houses interspersed with some older smaller ones, but on all the roofs they had a cross and then 2 palomas -doves- on each side of the cross for peace and then 2 balls on each side of the roof to symbolize men and women because in the past all the women would sleep in one side of the house and the men in the other.
we then arrived at ingapirca and it was crazy busy with people since IntyRaimy was going on which is the festival of the sun. Inty means sun and Raimy means fiesta. the sun was very important to the incas, and in ingapirca there is a templo del sol or temple for worshipping the sun. since monday was the summer solstice, inty raimy was going on for 3 days beforehand. there were tons of vendors selling jewelry, crafts and tons of food, even cuy-guinea pig. in the main part of the fiesta there was a big stage and a band was playing beatles songs on andean flutes. it was awesome. then we began our tour of ingapirca and the canari and incan ruins. ingapirca means incan walls because the spanish misheard inca as inga and pirca means walls. the canaris were the first civilization in ecuador and then the incas conquered them and then the spanish conquistadores conquered the incas. the ruins were pretty sweet and it was crazy to think that a long time ago incas were living in the same place we were walking. we saw an incan house/hut, the spot where an incan princess and some priests are buried under an assemblage of rocks, the irrigation channels they used for water, and an Incan chair. we also saw a rock with lots of big holes in it that were filled with water that our guide said could have been used as mirrors or most likely as a lunar calendar. he also told us how the red rocks in the cementerio de piedras were carried from the south. he then told us this crazy story about how the first car came to cuenca in that indigenous people carried it from the south through cajas to cuenca. so crazy. the templo del sol was sweet and it’s the only temple that is in the shape of a full elipse. something else that was interesting is that the whole civilization at ingapirca was made in the shape of a puma-a cougar-bc certain animals were really valuable to their culture.we began our walk at the tail of the puma and the templo del sol is the brain of the puma.we then walked to a spot where a rock was carved in the shape of a face. there’s also another rock in ingapirca that has the outline of a chin, nose, and eyes carved in it and those features reflect on the ground near the rock at a certain time of day.
so we then ate lunch in the spot near the rock face. we then went back to the festival and watched some really sweet dances. students from the university of cuenca performed first dancing with scarves and pretty dresses. then a group from saraguro performed, and they were wearing black which is a sacred color in their culture and a hat characteristic of their culture as well. we learned about them in my lit class. the girls were dancing with the things you use to clean wool, and the dance looked so fun! the last dance we watched the girls had beautiful red flowered dresses with big skirts and the boys wore black pants with white shirts and a red bandana and hat. there were tons of people watching and little kids were running around eating these red sticky apple candy things on sticks. on the way out we watched some cuy spinning on a spit and how they take it off the stick, cut it in half, put it in a pot of boiling water, and then serve it. some people tried it, but i couldn’t after watching it roast. overall it was a very interesting trip!
this week has been filled with class, lots of shopping, eating ice cream at tutte freddo, and exploring more of cuenca! i hope all is well with everyone at home!