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Machu Picchu architecture


The builders of Machu Picchu must have worked hard to achieve an architectural equilibrium with such a special and difficult environment. To build the citadel they used materials from the surroundings, stone blocks taken from the border areas. The ruins are split into two major areas: the agricultural zone and the urban zone.

Agricultural sector

The sector is surrounded by a series of terraces which had two main functions: to grow crops and halt the erosion caused by the rains. The most eye-catching terraces lie at the entrance to the citadel. They begin at the cluster of rooms located at the entrance and climb up to the top of the mountain until they stop at a large rectangular room.

Urban Sector

This is a whole "U"-shaped citadel. It has two series of buildings next to each side of the square or Chaupipata, which lies on a north-south axis. In the urban sector there are lots of temples, groups of rooms and workshops. The most remarkable buildings are the follows:

Temple of Sun: Formed by a series of buildings dominating the whole citadel, the temple has a semicircular shape and is located on top of a solid rock with a natural curve 34.4-ft.(10.5 m.) long. Blocks of finely worked stone have been used for this wall. In this building there are two trapezoidal windows with bulges on the corners. Towards the north wing, there is a door with perforated jambs. To the west of the temple, there is a rectangular patio with 9 vaulted niches intercalated by stone nails.

The Intiguanata: This stone is located on a hill made up of several terraces. At the end of the staircase one enters an open patio with walls equally well-sculpted, and where one can see an upper platform where there is a granite rock sculpted into three steps. In the central part one can see a rectangular prism that is 36cm high and which is pointing from North-West to South-East.

Group of the Sacred Rock: Found in a square area next to two rooms, the scared rock is 9.8 ft. (3.0 m.) long, has a base of 23 ft. (7.0 m.) and a pedestal of 11.8 inches (0.30 m.). The shape is one of a feline. It was used in rituals.

Temple of the Three Windows: It is located West of the main square, has a large rectangular floor. Its name comes from the fact its main face has three windows and two blind bays. Together with the main temple, this is the most impressive architecture in all of Machu Picchu. The enormous polyhedrons have been carved and joined with millimetric precision.

Main temple: The temple is located North of the Sacred Square, very near the Temple of Three Windows. It is built of three walls and is 11m long and 8m wide.

The doors: Doors vary in texture, size and architectural style that set them apart from each other, although all have the same trapezoid shape. Some only have one doorjamb and lintel, and some have two. Some doors are simple and others have different security mechanisms such as stone rings, central trunks and other mechanisms which served to tie together beams to make the doors more secure.

The Street of the Fountains: This street is located towards the south, between the Temple of the Sun and the Royal Palace. There are water springs known in the region as "Paqchas". This group of fountains or ponds contains water from a spring located 0.6 mile (1 km.).

Mausoleum: Enormous stone block bearing part of the Temple of the Sun. In this place, the Incas worshipped and gave ceremonial offerings to the mummies of the main officers.

The tomb: The enormous leaning block of stone that holds up the Temple of the Sun has a large crack in its bottom part, which has been exceptionally skillfully decorated and furnished to be later used as a tomb.

Squares: There are four main squares at different levels, but share the characteristic of being rectangular in the classic Inca style, interconnected by sunken stairways in the parameters of the terraces.

Mexico as well as Peru, has archaeological sites of great tourist attraction, visit the Mayan ruins in the Yucatan Peninsula have a magic spell.

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