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The Amazing Stone Textures of Ingapirca

Posted in: Cuenca Ecuador, Ecuador Travel

Ingapirca EcuadorOn a recent trip to Ingapirca I enjoyed seeing the difference in the stone work of the Cañari and Inca.

The Cañari were the first to build on the site and then the Inca came and added to what was already there. At first glance it all looked the same but as I took a closer look I noticed a significant difference in the stone work.

Some of the stones didn’t fit together as well as others, there was also a difference in their color and texture.

Beauty And Texture At Ingapirca

The Cañari and Inca build with the same type of stone but the stone used by the Cañari looked much rougher and they used a type of mortar to hold the stones together. The Inca polished and cut the stone more precisely and didn’t use mortar. The Inca also shaped the stone to add strength to the structure of their buildings so they were more resistant to tremors.

Ingapirca canari stone

The Cañari stone is rougher and has mortar.

Ingapirca inca stone

The Inca stone is smoother, lighter in color and has no mortar.

The way the Inca polished the stone brought out more of their natural color which adds to the beauty and texture of Ingapirca.

Ingapirca Ecuador

An interesting fact we learned while visiting Ingapirca is that when the Spanish came they took stones from Ingapirca and used them in the construction of buildings in Cuenca and other areas.

Ingapirca Ecuador

Read more about: Ingapirca: Ecuador’s Largest Incan Ruins

Meet the Author

Dena Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. She is a travel blogger and content marketer. She is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with GringosAbroad.

4 comments… add one
  • Ralph Sabean Oct 27, 2013, 5:42 am

    It is quite interesting how they put the stones together with cement or no cement. I think they were just building with little knowledge of how earthquakes would effect the stones. It was the material at hand they used probably because they tried mud and found it washed away too easily with so much rain locally. They would hold together better on small earthquakes but major ones must have killed many. They definitely were master workers though to use what they had so well was fantastic. I too think the rougher stones would hold together better but who knows and the mortar may have been added or may have been just clay to fill cracks. When I come back I will have to look at them closer if I get a chance. Nice story Bryan & Dena

  • Mcooks Oct 26, 2013, 2:35 pm

    We went to Incapirca with family who was visiting and now recommend it to all our other visitors. It’s really fascinating to see the Cañari and Inca cultures side-by-side. The difference that moon worship and sun worship made on the people’s lives, and learning how they learned to live within the same valley is fascinating. Well worth the 2-hour bus ride. However, a word of warning: Make sure that you don’t go on a holiday. The ticket sellers in Terminal Terestre will assume that you know that Incapirca is closed on holidays, and won’t tell you. We had two friends go out and have to sit in the parking lot for 2 hours, while they waited for the next bus, just looking through the fence.

  • Tye Oct 25, 2013, 11:31 pm

    Very interesting. I wonder if the decision to stop use of morter was so that the blocks could shift without cracking in an earthquake, while the close fit ensured an ongoing, consistent structural integrity. May be a good idea today for builders along faultlines.

  • Eric Oct 25, 2013, 6:47 pm

    Brian , & family .I am awe stricken in the construction and lay out of those stones . Those guys had no cutters like today. and to get them all to fit so perfectly, is utterly amazing . when I was laying cement blocks I neede a level, a tight line a mortar trowel and so on. Those guys never had those things . Who knows maybe they were advanced ahead of us today. They weren’t stupid.

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