Nestled in the foothills of the Cotopaxi volcano, the hacienda is built on the site of an important Inca building.
This is one of only two major Inca sites in Ecuador. (Most Inca sites are in Peru.) This building was constructed about the year 1440 by one of the last Inca emperors, Huayna Cápac.
Why did Huayna Cápac build it? Was he making a northern palace for himself, or did he build it as a temple devoted to the spirits of the nearby Cotopaxi volcano?
Or was it merely a way station on the Inca road of 1,500 kms from Cuenca in southern Peru to Quito in northern Ecuador?
Whatever the purpose, the Inca origin of the building has never been doubted.
The last Inca emperor, Atahualpa, stayed there on his journeys to Quito before being captured and executed in 1536.
Before the arrival of the Augustinians in 1590, the Hacienda had been written about in 1555 by the Spanish conquistador and chronicler, Cieza de Leon.
From 1590 until the early nineteenth century, it was occupied by the Order of Saint Augustine as a base for ministry. By the time of the Augustinian arrival, Inca control of the area had been greatly weakened by Spanish domination.
(Continued on the next page.)