The Village of Ingapirca in Ecuador. c 10,500 feet above sea level. The main attraction is a pre-Inca, pre-Colombian sun temple.
Quote: The Cañari lived here long before the Incas arrived, erecting a Temple of the Moon, the foundations of which are still visible today. The Incas, led by Huayna Capac, arrived at the end of the 15th century and defeated the Cañari after a long, drawn-out battle. Interestingly, following their victory, the Inca had enough respect for the Cañari to build a community together, and constructed their own Temple of the Sun to complement the original temple.
As well as employing their astonishing stonework, the Inca also built a complex underground irrigation network. Ingapirca was almost certainly used for ritual sacrifices because female skeletons have been unearthed on a site that was probably a convent for maidens.
Ingapirca’s position overlooking the surrounding valley was of key strategic importance, but the city’s growth was short-lived because the Spanish arrived before it was even completed. Ingapirca was ransacked and much of the stonework taken by the Spanish to build churches in Cuenca and beyond. The site lay abandoned until the Ecuadorian government began a restoration process in the mid-20th century, and the site was opened to the public in 1966. It is now run by a group of local Cañari indígenas.