Maras is a district of the Urubamba province, possible to be reached through a paved road from kilometer 50 on the road Qosqo - Chinchero – Urubamba. It is located towards the west of Qosqo at an altitude of 3300 mts. (10824 feet). It was declared ” Villa of Saint Francis of Assisi of Maras” (Villa: city or town that had certain privileges).
Maras village is famous for ”salt works”, These mines were exploited from pre-Hispanic time.The Maras “salt works” to which some people call “salt mines” are constituted by about 3000 small pools with an average area of 5 m² (53.8 ft²), constructed in a slope of the “Qaqawiñay” mountain. People fill up or “irrigate” the pools during the dry season every 3 days, with salty water emanating from a natural spring located on the top of the complex, so that when water evaporates the salt contained in it will slowly solidify.
That process will be carried out approximately during one month until a considerable volume of solid salt is obtained; about 10 cms. (4 inches) high from the floor. That solid salt is beaten thus granulated, then packed in plastic sacks and sent to the region’s markets; today that salt began being treated with iodine, thus, its consumption is not harmful.