Machu Picchu

11.July 2009

Peru

The history of Machu Picchu is a mystery. Was it where the great Incan Pachacutec instructed his people to hide during the Spanish invasion? Was it the great economic center of  the Incan culture? Or was it built as a prison to house those that had committed heinous crimes?

Machu Picchu, Peru

In it’s current state it is a beautiful reminder of what the Incan culture must have been like. In it’s former state it must have been an imposing city in the mountains. I lean toward the theory of economic center but with all the amazing temples it must have been even more than that.

The Incans ingenuity and precision is astounding. The site looks to have been built from the remains of a long ago rockslide. There is evidence throughout the site of fallen rocks being incorporated into several buildings. The ‘quarry’ area consists of rocks in their original position, some have carving work, others appear to be in the process of being split or shaped.

Machu Picchu, Peru

The buildings and stonework are stunning displays of form, function and astounding astronomical and geographic knowledge. Stones are placed, or carved, to match exactly with the sun’s winter and summer solstice positions or to line up along the ordinal geographic lines. Seeing a rock carved into the shape of the Incan Cross and then shown, using a compass, that the points of the cross face due north, south, east and west, I was amazed at the knowledge that the Incans must have had.

We had seen Inca stonework in Cusco, but here it was on a much grander scale. Entire temples built using massive stones, stacked upon each other as if they were made to be that way. No mortar, no mud…just intricate carving until they all fit together.

Machu Picchu, Peru

And how did they do all this work with no modern machinery? It’s impossible for me to imagine how many people must have worked and lived on the site. Even when teeming with tourists, I don’t imagine the number of people on site matches the number of those that must have lived there.

Machu Picchu, Peru

It  was amazing to just wander around the site and take it all in. It was even better having walked the same path that the Incans walked to get there.

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10 Responses to “Machu Picchu”

  1. Dan Says:

    I’ve enjoyed your posts on the Inca trek and Machu Picchu. I’m looking forward to going there next year!

  2. Lisa Says:

    What a fascinating culture they were. There is so much we don’t know about our ancient cultures and their ingenuity. I give this blog 2 thumbs up, especially as I am a history buff! Always learning something new from your site.

  3. Anil Says:

    I think we get spoiled by technology especially when it comes to architecture. Some of the most amazing things humans have built (the Pyramids, Colosseum, Maccu Picchu) were done without the luxury of machines. I wish I could go back in time and see how it was done.

    Knowing that these things were built with so much physical labor and creativity makes me appreciate them even more.

  4. Christian Haugen Says:

    Writing my own blog post about Machu Pichu as I’m commenting on this and I have to say that I agree with all your unanswered questions! I would have loved to have seen what this city was like back when it was a busy economical, religious and political hub to the Incan empire. It must have been a wonderful sight comparable to the Angkor cities of the Khmer empire..

  5. Nomadic Matt Says:

    the inca trail/machu picchu is one of the things i want to see most in the world. im jealous.

  6. Glenda Says:

    Fabulous photos… thanks for sharing your Machu Picchu experience. Hope to get there some day. Sounds like you guys are having a great time!

  7. Jeremy and Eva Rees Says:

    You guys scored a beautiful clear day up at the site! I’m jealous :)

  8. wanderingeducators Says:

    Love this – what an incredible time you had (and amazing photos!)
    wanderingeducators recently posted..9 Things to do in Peru

  9. Anevay Darlington Says:

    Great post on Machu Picchu! You’re questions in the beginning of the post are definitely ones that I have asked myself a number of times! Nice pics as well :)

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