The Incas left us a great legacy of archaeological and architectural places that are preserved to this day. Thanks to that we have been able to learn much of the history and culture of this empire that inhabited Peru for 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. The ruins of Moray is one of the mandatory destinations on your visit to Cusco.
The ruins of Moray platforms are terraces or agricultural platforms built in depressions or gigantic natural holes. These terraces are concentrically superimposed, taking the shape of a gigantic amphitheater. The largest 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 for the Incas. Since its platforms are built with their respective irrigation channels and each of them constitute a microclimate, what is most striking is the great difference in average annual temperature between the part and the bottom of the depressions, a difference that reaches up to 15 ° C.
The layout of the platforms produces a gradient of microclimates with the center of the circular platforms having a higher temperature and gradually reducing towards 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 more humid and have low soil temperatures due to the greater evapotranspiration of the water. The soils of the platforms of 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 of the year. The months with the greatest microclimatic 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 cultivate 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 Cusco place names, 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 that was called Aymoray, and also with the dehydrated potato that is the Moraya or Moray.