These are the largest known Inca ruins in Ecuador. The most significant building is the temple of the sun, an elliptically shaped building constructed around a large rock. The building is constructed in the Incan way without mortar. The stones were carefully chiseled and fashioned to fit together perfectly. The temple of the sun was positioned so that on the solstices, at exactly the right time of day, sunlight would fall through the center of the doorway of the small chamber at the top of the temple. Most of this chamber has fallen down.
The Incas were not the first inhabitants of Ingapirca. It had long been settled by the Cañari indigenous people, who called it Hatun Cañar. After the King of the Incas died in Peru, the oldest son took over the kingdom. The younger brother decided to find a place and kingdom of his own. He took his family and followers to the coast of Peru and followed the coastline north to Ecuador. He found his way into the Andes to Hatun Cañar. After much fighting and killing, the Inca dominated the Cañari, but they decided to settle their differences and live together peacefully. They renamed the city and kept most of their individual customs separate. Although the Inca were more numerous, they did not demand that the Cañari give up their autonomy. Eventually they merged into one group.
On his trip from Macchu Picchu to Ingapirca, the younger son developed a taste for fresh fish from the coastal towns. He liked it so much that he had relay runners bring him fresh fish on a daily basis from the coast. At Incapirca they developed a complex underground aqueduct system to provide water to the entire compound.
The people had numerous ritual celebrations. Gallons of a local fermented drink were used in these festivals. As sun and moon worshippers, they tried to be as close to their gods as possible. The weather changes there are usually within minutes of each other, calm and sunny one minute and within fifteen minutes rainy, windy and cold. This climate volatility is typical year round. The people felt strongly that this was the place where the gods had led them, regardless of the climate.