Project Description

Ollantay and Cusi Coyllur

Ollantaytambo is a town located at the end of the Sacred Valley along the Urubamba River, roughly 37 miles northwest of Cusco, Peru. The name of the town and its megalithic archaeological ruins are associated with a pre-Columbian story of tragic romantic drama. According to legend, Ollantay was a valiant warrior chief and Pachacutec’s most trusted general. The relationship soured, however, when Ollantay and the Inca emperor’s daughter, Cusi Coyllur, fell in love. Since Ollantay was not of royal blood, the pair carried on their forbidden love affair in secret and she soon was carrying his child. Ollan­tay appeared before the Inca and asked for the princess in marriage. But Pachacutec refused. He angrily dismissed Ollantay and banished his daughter to the Convent of the Virgins of the Sun. With his suit for Cusi Coyllur’s hand scorn­fully rejected, Ollantay climbed the dizzying mountain heights overlooking Cusco and in a powerful soliloquy declared himself the implacable enemy of the empire. The original story builds in sonorous, rhythmic Quechua into an epoch tale of treachery, defeat, mercy and finally absolution. Ollantay was pardoned, and reunited with his beloved Cusi Coyllur, as well as their 10-year-old daughter, Yma Sumac.