Terraced farming, a ingenious solution born out of the necessity to navigate poor soil quality, water conservation challenges, and mountainous terrain, has been adopted by diverse cultures worldwide. Despite being labor-intensive to construct, terraced farming has played a pivotal role in enabling land to support the escalating demands of civilizations for crops, livestock, and poultry.

The introduction of terraced agriculture has not only mitigated erosion risks but also preserved rainwater and runoff, transforming otherwise unused hillside into arable land. This method of farming has proven crucial in meeting the agricultural needs of communities while simultaneously creating some of the world’s most breathtaking landscapes.

Sa Pa Terraces (Vietnam):

Nestled in the Muong Hoa valley between Sa Pa town and Fansipan Mountain, these rice terrace fields in northwest Vietnam are cultivated by local mountain communities, including the Hmong, Giay, Dao, Tay, and Giay. Aside from providing essential goods, the terraces offer a stunning backdrop against thick bamboo woodlands.

Inca Pisac (Peru):

The terraced fields of Pisac in Peru, constructed by the Incas, remain in use today. The partridge-shaped terraces include a military citadel, religious temples, and dwellings, offering a captivating view of the Sacred Valley.

10 Exquisite Bays Across the Globe

Douro Valley (Portugal):

Renowned for port wine, the Douro Valley in northern Portugal features hills covered with terrace fields of vines. The valley’s scenery transforms throughout the year, with vibrant colors as the vines mature, creating a spectacular landscape.

Bali Rice Terraces (Indonesia):

Bali’s iconic rice terraces, carved by hand with rudimentary tools, have sustained Balinese culture for almost 2000 years. Located north of Tegallalang village, these stepped rice paddies are not only a favorite with travelers and photographers but are also managed under a well-organized social order called a subak.

Choquequirao (Peru):

Known as the “Cradle of Gold,” Choquequirao is a stepped agricultural site located at an elevation of 3085 meters. Larger than Machu Picchu, this site, with its 180 terraces, is reached only by foot or horseback, making it less frequented by visitors.

Salinas de Maras (Peru):

The Inca salt pans of Salinas de Maras, with around 3,000 man-made terraced flats, have been used for centuries. Natural spring water, rich in salt, is directed into these terraces, creating thick salt deposits that are cut into slabs and transported to markets.

Ollantaytambo (Peru):

Serving as a royal estate during the Inca Empire, Ollantaytambo features extensive agricultural terraces that allowed farming on otherwise unusable terrain. Today, it is a vital tourist attraction and a common starting point for the Inca Trail.

Longji Terraces (China):

Built over 500 years ago during the Ming Dynasty, the Longji or Dragon’s Backbone rice terraces wind through the hills of Longsheng, creating a captivating landscape during the growing season.

Hani Terraces (China):

Carved by hand by the Hani people, these rice terraces below the villages on the Ailao Mountains in Yuanyang have supported rice and fish cultivation for over 1,000 years. The terraces flood from December to March, offering a spectacular view.

Banaue Rice Terraces (Philippines):

Carved by hand without modern tools by the Ifugao tribes, the Banaue Rice Terraces in the Cordilleras mountains have been producing rice for almost 2,000 years. These numerous, steep terraces are showing their age as the Ifugao tribespeople increasingly migrate to urban areas.

Machu Picchu (Peru):

Rediscovered in 1911, Machu Picchu is one of the most beautiful ancient sites globally. Surrounded by agricultural terraces and watered by natural springs, Machu Picchu’s narrow terraces were meticulously constructed from stone blocks, showcasing the remarkable engineering prowess of the Incas. Today, the site stands as a testament to the ingenuity of terraced farming.


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