Historical destination | The ruins of Ingapirca

Located south of Ecuador in the province of Cañar rests the Ingapirca Fortress, the largest Inca ruins in Ecuadorian territory.



Before the Incas arrived, this territory belonged to the Great Hatun Cañar, inhabited by the Cañari warriors who believed in reciprocity as their life philosophy. They didn’t believe in servitude and slavery. When the Incas arrived, clashes were inevitable but they ultimately didn’t end in extermination. Surprisingly, the communities lived together in this fortress: the people of Cusco may have accepted the Cañari to extend their domain and to take advantage of their workforce; and the Cañari were inclined to ally to survive and keep their culture alive.

The manager of this new community, Huayna Cápac, the last-to-last ruler of the Inca Empire, led the settlement and ordered the construction of what is now known as the largest Archaeological Complex in Ecuador, the Ingapirca Fortress.


Destino Historico las ruinas de Ingapirca Saga Travel Saga Creativa Ecuador
Source: Ministerio de Turismo


Over 500 years ago, by order of Huayna Cápac, several buildings were built on 4 hectares of the territory. Among all the constructions, an ellipse that resembles a great palace stands out. Many people have identified it as a Temple of the Sun or a site of astronomical observation and celebrations. However, according to what the writer Rodrigo Fierro points out in his article in El Comercio, “[…] the pirca is a huge ravine crowned by a military court building, on top a viewpoint is seen, from where you could spot the enemy’s presence […] To stop the incursions of the northerns, Ingapirca must have been one of the first constructions in which Huayna Capac insisted . ”


Destino Historico las ruinas de Ingapirca Saga Travel Saga Creativa Ecuador cover
Source: Ministerio de Turismo


There are still some theories about the functionality of some structures, so research is still on course to find out more about its history. Now, what’s left after the Spanish invasion is still enough to give an indication of what the life of the Incas and Cañaris who lived there was like. After the studies that have been done on its architecture, there’s a suggestion that the great “Temple of the Sun” is made in such a way that the angle of the sun should have shone right at the entrance during the solstices. Highlighted in its design is the large underground water system to supply the entire community.

Among the remainder of what was once a great engineering system, another Temple to the Sun is distinguished, an indication that the two cultures that inhabited together were able to worship their gods separately.


If you want to visit these ruins we leave you a link that can help you find access routes and recommendations to explore the fascinating history and treasure of Ecuador.

Download this document the Ministry of Tourism put together to use as a guide.



Ministerio de Turismo