The Shincal Inca Ruins in Argentina.

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El Shincal

Top choice in Catamarca & La Rioja

The Inca ruins of El Shincal are located 7km west of Londres. Founded in 1471, the town occupied a commanding position in the foothills of the mountains, surveying the vast valley to the south. The setting is spectacular, with fantastic views and great atmosphere. The renovated museum at the entrance has a scale model and good background on Inca and pre-Inca culture, while signs along the way explain local plants.

At the ruins, 500m beyond, the ushnu (ceremonial platform) is set in the middle of a central square and is flanked by two partially restored kallankas (buildings of unknown function). Two hilltop platforms aligned to the rising and setting sun probably served as both lookouts and altars. All information is in Spanish, including the guided tours, offered six times daily. There's a cafe-restaurant on-site.

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