Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Lost City of the Inca .... Machuu Picchu

The Inca Empire only lasted about 400 years .... but oh what they accomplished in that time!  Machuu Picchu was built in the 1400 and abandoned when the Spanish arrived.  Although the Spanish destroyed most of the Inca buildings, they never found Machuu Picchu and thus the city is pretty much the way it was some 500 years ago.

The city was divided into two parts.  The religious side on the left and the industrial side on the right.  Before getting to either one of these parts, one walks through the residential area where the Inca, or king lived.  Terraces for growing food, plants and to stop errosion surround the city.  It is estimated that about 300 people, all nobility, lived in Macchu Picchu.

The building on the top, was the guard tower through which everyone needed to pass to gain entrance to the city of Machuu Picchu.  Rows and rows of terraces lined the mountain side leading up to the guard house.

Next to the guard tower, a sacred rock.  Although it is uncertain what the rock was used for, the grounds around the rock are littered with smaller rocks.  Research has shown that these smaller rocks were brought to this site, from all over the Inca Empire.  Due to the carvings in the large rock and the fact that stones were carried far and wide to this side, give this spot its special sacred significance.

The main door into the city of Machuu Picchu.  The stairs leading down from the guard house, provided access.  How, and with what this door might have been closed is a mystery.
On either side of the door that provides entrance into the city, are round rocks that seem to form some type of locking mechanism.  How did they work?  No one knows for sure.

In the forground, the living quarters of the Inka King and the nobility.  On the right, as one moves toward the sacred mountain of Waynapicchu, is the industrial area of the city.   
A closer view of the residential area.

During the Inca time, these houses would have been covered with thatch roofs.

The Inca encorporated the natural elements into the construction, as seen here where the huge rock forms part of the wall and flows over into the walkway.  Rocks were sacred to the Inca, as was most everything in their environment .... rivers, animals, birds.
The Inca were experts at masonery.  These rocks were laid one on top of the other, still standing 500 years later.  And this is not even the best example of the stonework of the Inca!
The industrial area, as viewed from on top of the sacred temple are of the city.
To get to the relgious and industrial parts of the city, one walks past many terraces, stone walls, and the Temple of the Sun.

The Temple of the Sun is a very refined form of stonework.  Not the precision of the rocks and the round curves of the rock that form this temple.

The Temple of the Sun was an important temple in the city, but it was not the most important.

Directly under the structure of the Temple of the Sun, was the Temple of the Mother Eearth.

Located next to the Temple of the Sun, was the Water Temple.   

Acquaducts carried water from the moutnains, to all parts of Machuu Picchu.

The stonework that went into the construction of the acquaducts is amazing.

Not far from the Temples of the Sun, MotherEarth and Water, is the Temple of the Condor.  The above is one half of the Temple .... one outstretched wing of a condor.  Behind the large stone rock, are nitches in which the mummies would be place.  In Inca lore, the Condor was the bird that sored into the heavens, therein becoming the link between earth and heaven.  

The head of the condor in the Condor Temple.

The top left side of the city of Machuu Picchu was the mose sacred part of the city.

In the sacred part of the city, the Temple of the Three Windows.  The large rock infront, is believed to have signified the beliefs of the Inca .... a kind of moral constitution.  Each step in the rock stood for a moral principal, i.e. work together for the good of all, and the steps from the shadow from the rock also signified the principals.  Three steps on each side of the rock, plus the shadow made 12 principals.

The most important temple at Machuu Picchu, facing the city plaza or square.

Located next to the Temple of the Three Windows, is a rock which the Inca built around to form the sacred religious part of Machuu Picchu.  Interestingly enough, this rock appears to be a natural rock miniture of the city of Machuu Picchu.

Directly in front of the temple, a sacred rock ... perfectly aliegned to the four cardinal points on the compus.  Where I am standing is where the Inca King would stand for special occasions ..... i.e. the Spring or Winter Equanox.

Yes ..... the drop behind me into the valley below...... thousands of feet!  Why....?  Why... do I do these things

Machuu Picchu..... truly a wonder of the world!

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