Archeology X-Files

Ancient Ingapirca: The Largest Known Inca Ruins In Ecuador

The archeological findings have immensely benefitted the mankind. They have managed to portray the picture which unfurled the living style, the lore, the food habits and the technology used by the then inhabitants. There have been instances when one key led to another unfurling and exploring new aspects.

This is exactly applicable for the ancient Inca ruins. It is nestled in Ecuador in close vicinity of Cuenca, in the province of Cañar. The native meaning of Ingapirca implies “Inca wall” in the language Quechua.

Here are some interesting pointers about the place:

  • The entire complex exhibits an amalgamation of the entrenchment of Inca and Cañari civilization.
  • A major fabrication of the complex is the Temple of the Sun. It is elliptical in shape. It is constructed around a large rock. The most endearing aspect of this built, is that no mortar is utilized in its fabrication. In fact, simply the stones are carefully chiseled and shaped to fit together in a perfect manner.

Ancient Ingapirca: The Largest Known Inca Ruins In Ecuador

Ancient Ingapirca: The Largest Known Inca Ruins In Ecuador

  • The architecture of the Temple of the Sun is spellbinding. The upper chamber is so designed, that during the solstice, the sun would fall through the narrow windows. It is then; it illuminates the sacred sections and elements.
  • When researchers investigated and researched they found, that the altars within the Temple of the Sun, receive direct illumination only at special times of the year. This time slot is the one, which falls in the New Year or Inti Raymi. Fascinating! Isn’t it!

Ancient Ingapirca: The Largest Known Inca Ruins In Ecuador


  • The Inti Raymi in Quechua implies “sun festival”. It is a religious ceremony of the Inca Empire. It is pursued to honor the God Inti- the most esteemed deities in Inca religion. The meaning of the term Inti in the Quechua language is the sun. Hence, God Inti is the Sun God.

What could have been the purpose to make the site?

The real purpose of the site is unknown till date. However, the researchers have proposed that the site was utilized as a military fortress which back then dominated the Andes (Andes is the present day Northern Ecuador and Southern Columbia). The native Cañari settled on the site and called it as Hatun Cañar.

Ancient Ingapirca: The Largest Known Inca Ruins In Ecuador


The sun was worshipped in Inca religion, and the Cañari civilization worshipped the Moon. The traits of the Cañari civilization is the puma design of the city as well as the crescent shape of the site. The characteristic of the Inca civilization and culture is depicted in the Temple of the sun.

What led to the amalgamation of the two civilizations?

There is a renowned tale about the same. At the time of expansion of Inca in Southern Ecuador, the high Inca Tupac Yupanqui came across the Cañari tribe. However, it was really tedious for the former to conquer them. Hence, he married the Cañari princess and rather improvised the Cañari city of Guapondelig. He called it Pumapungo-an epitome of amalgamation of the Cañar and Inca civilization.



The best aspect about the amalgamation was that even with the Inca dominance, the Cañari civilization lived with peace following their traditions and rituals.

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