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Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu (which means "manly peak") is one of the most spectacular sets of ruins in the world; a visit to Peru would not be complete without seeing it.

Machu Picchu, located at about 7000-8000 feet above sea level contains terraces, temples, sacred rocks, residences for nobility, priests, and peasants, ceremonial baths, industrial sectors, a pyramid, plazas, and a prison. The Incan built structure has been deemed the “Lost Cities”, the Incas left no written records of Machu Picchu, so it is still a place of great mystery, it was relatively recent discovered in 1911.

Archaeologists estimate that approximately 1200 people could have lived in the area, though many theorize it was most likely a retreat for Incan rulers. Due to it’s isolation from the rest of Peru, living in the area full time would require traveling great distances just to reach the nearest village.

In Machu Picchu there are remains of buildings that were covered with gold, presumably with fantasy gardens, idols and offerings like those of the temple of Qorikancha in Cuzco.

According to the archaeologists, the urban sector of Machu Picchu was divided into three great districts: the Sacred District, the Popular District, to the south, and the District of the Priests and the Nobility (royalty zone).

Located in the first zone are the primary archaeological treasures: the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun and the Room of the Three Windows. These were dedicated to Inti, their sun god and greatest deity.

The Popular District, or Residential District, is the place where the lower class people lived. It includes storage buildings and simple houses to live in.

In the royalty area, a sector existed for the nobility: a group of houses located in rows over a slope; the residence of the Amautas (wise persons) was characterized by its reddish walls, and the zone of the Ñustas (princesses) had trapezoid-shaped rooms.

The Monumental Mausoleum is a carved statue with a vaulted interior and carved drawings. It was used for rites or sacrifices.

All of the construction in Machu Picchu uses the classic Inca architectural style of polished dry-stone walls of regular shape. The Incas were masters of this technique, called ashlar, in which blocks of stone are cut to fit together tightly without mortar. Many junctions are so perfect that not even a knife fits between the stones.

The Incas never used the wheel in any practical manner. How they moved and placed enormous blocks of stones is a mystery, although the general belief is that they used hundreds of men to push the stones up inclined planes. It is unknown if the Incas left behind any documentation about that process because the writing they employed, called khipus, has not been translated.

The space is composed of 140 constructions including temples, sanctuaries, parks and residences, houses with thatched roofs. There are more than one hundred flights of stone steps – often completely carved in a single block of granite – and a great number of water fountains, interconnected by channels and water-drainages perforated in the rock, designed for the original irrigation system.

Evidence has been found to suggest that the irrigation system was used to carry water from a holy spring, to each of the houses in turn, the order being dictated by the perceived holiness of the inhabitants.

Machu Picchu not only preserves geological formations and archaeological remains within the Sanctuary, but also the unique flora and fauna and spectacular landscape of the surrounding woods. The Historical Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is an invaluable archaeological discovery, symbolizing both Peru and the Andean region. Peru travel offers the opportunity to explore this magnificent ruins and discover the inca culture.

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