The salt mines of Maras near Cusco city are a true wonder of both nature and humanity, built more than 500 years ago.
The pre-Incas and Incas were brilliant at working with their environment rather than against it.
They produced truly unique technologies that are not seen anywhere else in the world, including these Maras salt mines, also known as the Cusco salt flats.
How the salt mines in Maras work
Often, it is the deceptive simplicity of pre-Hispanic architecture and engineering that is most surprising. Natural spring waters loaded with salt rise into thousands of large human-made pans that cover an entire mountainside.
As water fills the pans during the day, the sun evaporates the liquid. This leaves behind hundreds of pounds of salt, ripe for human consumption every month.
Check out this video courtesy of The Big Great Story on Youtube as they show us just why the Maras salt mines near Cusco are both incredible and beautiful.
This article has been revised and updated from its original publication on August 11, 2017.