Ingapirca, Ecuador's largest Incan ruins
The area was already inhabited by the native Cañari who came into conflict with the Incans. While the invading force soundly trounced the native peoples, they miraculously did not wipe them out. In sharp contrast to European colonization techniques, the Inca simply allowed their community to merge with the Cañari.
This new community then grew into the city now known as Ingapirca. Among the interesting remainders of the merged culture are what seem to be two separate Temples of the Sun, each one catering to the beliefs of each culture.
While the ruins at Ingapirca may not hold the same surviving grandeur as some other nearby ruins, their design and ingenuity is rich in information regarding how the Incan people lived.
The largest structure still standing on the site is one of the Temples of the Sun. While it is important from an architectural standpoint, the really interesting feature is that the temple appears to have been built at such an angle that the sun would have shone directly into the doorway during the solstices.
This design is also on display in the startling underground aqueduct system that supplied the whole community with water.
The low lying ruins of Ingapirca are still being studied and continue to supply vital information on the lost civilization that seems to have been well ahead of its time. ■