Iconic Machu Picchu

Updated: Apr 6, 2019

" Machu Picchu revealed in front of me, like the reason's existence, above delirium and its inhabitants' absence and that of its creators.

The mystery of its origin and silent tenaciousness, unwound for me the lesson of order the human being can establish through the centuries, with his or her joint will power...." Pablo Neruda


Machu Picchu, without a single doubt, is the most attractive Inkan masterpiece, as only the best adjectives can be used to qualify its beauty and monumental aspect. The word Machu Picchu means Old, Ancient or Elder Mountain and thus is called the mountain on which stands the archaeological complex of the same name.

Panoramic view of the city and its surroundings

The Inkan City of Machu Picchu is situated at an altitude of 2,500m high in the North west city of Cusco. The Inka's last capital city was discovered by the North American professor and explorer, Hiram Bingham on July 24th 1911.

According to researchers, Machu Picchu was an important multi-functional Inkan city. It was a magical and religious centre, as well as a great solar worshipping sanctuary, as its extraordinary surrounding and buildings erected there favour this purpose. Machu Picchu was built during the second half of the 15th century.


Agricultural Terraces

The Inkan used these agricultural benched terraces to maintain fertile soil, and grew corn, coca, quinoas, potatoes, ect. This beautiful ancient city incites us to wonder upon whether men built it for the Gods or the Gods built for men.

The funerary rock and cemetery is located right behind the House of Guardians you will find the many human remains which have been found in this area, indicating that it might have been used as a funeral site. All this is speculation is without facts since no written records exist. 107 tombs were found in which there were bone remains.

The Funerary Rock and Cemetery

The main gate to the urban sector was built mainly by the granite chaos or stone fields which were found on the site. It was the access to the urban area, which is composed of living quarters, Mother Earth's Temple, the Inka's house, water fountains and others.

The main gate to the urban sector

Follow the path down and enter the city through the Main Gate. You will first see the urban sector, where the common citizens had been living. Houses here were rather small and narrow and once thatched with straw under wooden beams.

Common citizens houses after entering the main gate

As you follow the meandering path through the urban sector, you will ultimately end up at the main temple of Machu Picchu. It is probably the city's most important ceremonial compound. This square probably served as a staging area for important rituals and gatherings. It is often called Sacred Plaza and it synthesized Andean cosmic vision.


The Main Temple, this is another temple which displays one of the finest Inkan imperial style stone cutting work. It believed that it was a place for galaxy observation as well a temple dedicated to Scared Mountains as these were the deities that provided water.


The Main Temple

The Intiwatana is perhaps the most significant ritual site within Machu Picchu. It is on the highest level, aligned with the sacred mountains that coincide with the four cardinal directions. In Inkan times, this sculpture was known as "saywa" which means astronomical pillar.

The Intihuatna Stone

Right next to the Royal Palace you will find the temple of the Sun. The semi-circular structure built on top of bedrock which serve as its base and altar. it also was an astronomical observatory, with calendar setting purposes. The window directed towards the North-east, allows the observation of the winter solstice.


The Temple of Sun

The Condor's Temple, natural rock were used with great genius, to make this symbolic representation of the condor flying off, It was a sector for religious and astronomical use, related to sunrise. The condor's head and neck were sculptured in a superficial rock.

Taking the stairs further uphill, you will get to the inner sanctum of Machu Picchu. Here you will enter a cluster of perfectly built houses known as the royal palace. Both the perfect masonry and the vicinity of the Temple of the Sun make it very probably that this is where the Inca king and his family resides on their stays in Machu Picchu. It is, in all earnest not particularly large.

Machu Picchu is the place you will experience beautiful panoramic view of the Inkan city. I have covered some of the significant spots and with little details to understand the archaeological purposes. Visiting one of Seven Wonders of the world is a dream come true for most of us. I wanted to share the magical experience that surrounds this eternal city in a single visit I have made in 2015.

Definitely, Machu Picchu is the most important legacy the Inkas left for the whole world.


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