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At 3,028 m.a.s.l., it is a picturesque town at 67 Kms. (1 h) to the north of Cusco and at 12km from Urubamba going by asphalted path. It belongs to Urubamba province and is located at a plain that in the prehistoric times was a plateau from where you could observe one of the mountains La Verónica (5,682 meters) and Chikon (5,530 meters).
 
 
Circuits Introduction
Maras
Moray
Pichingoto
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to Urcos
From Urcos
to Racchi
Urcos - Puno
Pisac - Paucartambo
According to chronicler Guamán Poma de Ayala, the Maras town was conquered by the third Inca, Lloque Yupanqui. Maybe it was in the era in which, in agreement with an old legend of the area, a powerful cacique from the Yucay valley had the Maras inhabitants as tributaries.
They decided to rise up failing to comply with its labor obligations and harassing his emissaries. He got angry and invoked the Yaya Inti (Sun God) to punish those infidels. As a response, the Sun God sent a salt rain on their lands to turn them barren and on their streams so that they could not quench the thirst.

But the gods could not have been so severe with Maras, since, further on, during Manco Inca's rebellion, it was a fortress, and from there the warrior made incursions against the town of Ollantaytambo.

During the colony, the Maras town was founded again by the Spanish colonist and captain Pedro Ortiz de Orué. His huge wealth allowed him to carry out important donations of silver pesos in favor of the catholic cult and the improvement of the temple appearance. Ortiz de Orué's influence in this place history is still perceived through the coat of arms and inscriptions carved in stone in the lintels of many big houses that belonged to him. Its prosperity made it compete with the prosperous Chinchero. That's why it was called "Villa de San Francisco de Asís de Maras".

At present, and as the unique sign of its past prosperity, it keeps a church made of adobe. Inside we find very good paintings that belong to the Inca painter Antonio Sinchi Roca, contemporary native of bishop Mollinedo y Angulo.

However, Maras, is touristically recognized because to the northwest of the city there are the salt mines, exploited since the Inca times up to date. They are specially recommended for those who love photography.

The salt mines are made up by approximately 3000 small pools of 5 m². The work consists in filling them with salt water (the water rises from a natural source located at the top of the complex) until the water evaporates and the salt remains. This process takes around one months until reaching the required volume: 10 cm (4 inches) high. Then, the salt is ground and packed to be sent to the regional markets.

While in the past Maras was a privileged town, today its a town anchored in the past due to its isolation and, therefore, to its lack of modernity. A lethargy state that tries to be overcome thanks to a touristic program driven by Promperú in agreement with the European Union, which allows tourists to participate in the salt extraction works in its different stages: cleaning, irrigation, collection and transfer. The tour, which main objective is to foster friendship between the visitors and the local people ends in the touristic roadside store of Pichingoto community, where you can buy craft products prepared using salt paste.



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