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Moray was the main agricultural research center of the Inca culture. Discover more about this interesting Inca complex.
Moray has three groups of circular terraces, each with 12 levels.

The Sacred Valley of the Incas holds a treasure of agricultural engineering, discovered just over 90 years ago, this place continues to be of interest to researchers.

There is no doubt that the origin of the name Moray comes from Quechua, what is not clear is the meaning of the word, although according to various historians it can take various meanings. It is said that it may come from the contraction of the words "Muyu" which means round and "Uruy" which is below. It could also arise from the Aymora word, which means corn harvest and the month of March.


Research tells us that the first terraces were built by a culture predating the Incas, between the 6th and 10th centuries, possibly the Maras culture, which dominated the territory. The second part was indeed built by the Incas between the 12th and 14th centuries, probably in the territorial expansion started by Inca Pachacutec.

The Inca culture brought products from all over the Tahuantinsuyo territory for the purpose of planting them in the fertile land of Moray, under the agricultural system that the place had.

With the arrival of the Spanish conquest, this place was abandoned, it was not until 1932 that it was discovered by Shirppe Johnson’s who flew over the place, finding it full of vegetation.

According to historians, these constructions constituted an important agricultural laboratory of the Inca empire. Since its terraces are built with their respective irrigation canals and each of them constitutes a microclimate. What draws attention is the great difference in average annual temperature between the top and the bottom of the depressions, a difference that can reach up to 15°C.


The place consists of agricultural terraces built in depressions or natural giant holes. These terraces are superimposed concentrically, taking the shape of a gigantic amphitheater.

There are 3 circular complexes, ranging from 150 meters deep and the average height of the terraces is 1.80 meters, in which the existence of almost 20 different microclimates is proven.

It is divided into groups of 4 terraces, with different temperatures, heights, and characteristics. The first 4 terraces have a more humid climate with temperatures around 0°C, the next 4 have a higher temperature with a difference of up to 3°C. The last 4 have a different temperature varying due to sun exposure and the passing of the seasons.

This difference is clearer in the dry season months, which includes the months from April to October.

Function of the terraces

The circular shape of the terraces, have irrigation channels that have a slight inclination that facilitated the irrigation of the entire place. Each terrace offered a different climatic environment, which allowed the cultivation of different types of plants and grains.

What did they cultivate?

The terraces, built on retaining walls filled with fertile soil and watered through complex irrigation systems, allowed the cultivation of more than 250 plant species. Among them, coca leaves and medicinal herbs in the first 4 terraces, quinoa and kiwicha in the next 4, and potatoes and corn in the last 4.

All about Moray


It is located 53 Km from the city of Cusco (1 hour by bus on the Cusco - Maras route), at an altitude of 3,385 meters above sea level. In the peasant community of Mullakas Misminay in the province of Urubamba. It covers an area of 37,000 hectares.


The climate in Moray is temperate, with a temperature that still varies from 20 °C during the day, and can drop to 0° at night. The best travel time is during the dry season which includes the months from April to October.


The archaeological site of Moray is open from 7:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. The entrance fee is included in the Tourist Ticket.

How to get to Moray?

You can get to Moray in various ways:

  • With a tour package: most travel agencies offer all-inclusive tours to Moray.
  • On your own: You can take public transport to the town of Chinchero and another to the locality of Maras, where you can take another means of transportation to get to Moray.

Tourist attractions and activities in Moray

Moray encompasses a great amount of history and scenic beauty, as the whole place is perfect for an incredible photographic session.

Inca Terraces

The terraces served as an Inca agricultural laboratory to experiment with their crops and obtain products that could not be cultivated under other conditions.

Moray Raymi

Every October 8th, the festival called Moray Raymi is celebrated, a festivity related to agriculture, which is accompanied by traditional dances and ritual ceremonies such as the offering to the earth.