Amphitheatres of Moray

One of the Greatest Inca Mysteries: Circles in the Landscape

The Amphitheaters of Moray in Peru are a mystery. Scientists are still trying to figure out the function of these strange circles made by the Incas. Moray is located in the famous Sacred Valley. During my visit, I hear some interesting theories from guides. These are the sights of the Amphitheaters of Moray.

Moray is often overlooked by tourists, but this is one of the great Inca mysteries. Here you will find three so-called 'collossea', huge circular amphitheatres that have been incorporated into the landscape. The Incas cleverly used mountain curves. The circles are round and perfectly finished with stones. Moray is located on a plateau at an altitude of about 3,500 meters west of the village of the same name, Maras.

What were the Terraces in Moray for?

The Inca terraces with irrigation canals.

These immense circles in the landscape could have various meanings. But no one is sure which one. Logically, it may have been a kind of theatre, just like with the Romans. But it could also have had a completely different meaning. It may also have been caused by a meteorite impact, according to some, after which the Incas used the place as a sanctuary. It's one of the stories I heard when I visited Moray.

The most common theory is that testing grounds were used by the Incas to improve their crops. According to many scholars, they were agricultural terraces that were tested under various conditions. The Incas probably grew all kinds of corn, quinoa and more here. Although this is not entirely clear.

The largest amphitheatre is 100 meters wide. Surrounded by a stunning landscape. You can easily wander around yourself and draw your own conclusions. Because remarkably few tourists come here, this is a wonderful place. And it is intensely beautiful, especially in good weather. I had sun and clouds, it doesn't get much better I don't think.


There are several viewpoints, including one right at the entrance. Most visitors only do the viewpoints that let you look at the circles from above. Go right if you want to see it. But there are other viewpoints. Which are also worth a visit. Make sure you have time when visiting Moray.

A woman at Moray.

Hike around the Crater

Go hike to the circles yourself, it's intriguing. You walk around the circles but also get to the viewpoints on the edge. I walked to the left upon entering, so that I also came closer to the circles themselves. Finally walked all the way around in an hour. You will also see the famous Inca stairs. These are simply stones placed across the walls of the terraces. You can also see how the rainwater was led over the fields by an ingenious irrigation system.

Accommodations in Moray

Most tourists come from Cusco on a day trip, visiting several locations in the Sacred Valley. These excursions depart from the city, you will be picked up at your hotel. There is a guide that will give you more background information.

Find the best accommodations in Cusco

How to Get to the Circles of Moray? 

You can easily visit the circles in the landscape via a day tour. Although you can go on your own. 

Moray (both the town and the amphitheatres) is located near Urubamba on the route from Cusco to Machu Picchu. This place is located about 50 km northwest of the popular city of Cusco.

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