The Sacred Valley of the Incas is a valley in the Andes of Peru, close to the Inca capital of Cusco and the ancient city of Machu Picchu. It encompasses the heartland of the Inca Empire. It includes everything between Calca and Lamay, Písac, and Ollantaytambo. The valley was formed by the Urubamba River which in Quechua, the still spoken language of the Inca Empire, means the sacred river. It is fed by numerous rivers which descend through adjoining valleys and gorges, and contains numerous archaeological remains and villages. The valley was appreciated by the Incas due to its special geographical and climatic qualities. It was one of the empire's main points for the extraction of natural wealth, and one of the most important areas for maize production in Peru northwards from Pisac.