Machu Picchu (“Old Peak” in Quechua language) is a very impressive 15 – century Inca town, believed to be built as an estate for Inca emperor Pachacuti. It is also known as “The Lost City of the Incas” and it’s maybe the most well-known icon of the Inca civilization.
It is situated above the Urubamba Valley, near Cuzco, Peru. Due to the height of the site (2,430 m above sea level), Machu Picchu was considered to be a place for the gods. That means for the emperor too, as he was seen almost as a god. This impressive town was soon abandoned though by the incas a houndred years later, right after the Spanish conquest. Thus, it was not known to the Spanish afterwards, and the site was preserved intact. It became a UNESCO world heritage site in 1983.
Machu Picchu is a very impressive example of harmony between man and the natural environment. The Incas built the city using the natural layout of the site. The best example are the agricultural terraces built on the mountain slope.
The geographical shape of the site also helped dividing the city into the upper and lower town, each with its own distinct functions and uses: temples in the upper town and warehouses in the lower town. Around the wide central square, which is located on the mountain top, approximately 200 buildings are placed on wide parallel terraces. The incas were great architects, as a proof, they built a complex network of stairs and channels for irrigation on such a difficult ground, and also a complex street and building layout.
Every inca city had an Intihuatana stone. That stone was set to point directly at the sun when the winter solstice came. The inca believed it held the sun (Inti) in place during his journey along the sky. Because it’s casting specific shadows on exactly June 21 and December 21, the Intihuatana stone is believed to be some sprt of an astronomic clock or calendar.
All the central buildings in Machu Picchu are built in the classical inca style, with well-polished stones, cut and fit together perfectly without mortar. This way of building is very impressive if you bear in mind that even today this is very difficult to do. This is done so well, that not even a blade cannot fit between the stones. As Peru is a very seismic land, fitting the stones together without mortar is a better way to keep a building up in place than using mortar, which would crack and collapse.
Although the incas never used the wheel in any practical manner because of the steep land and dense vegetation, it still remains a mistery the way they moved all the stones up there. The general opinion is that thousands of men pushed them all the way to the city. Some stones still have knobs on them, believed to be used to manipulate them into place.
Roads and transportation
The Inca Trail is a road built by incas, that is still used today by the many tourists who come to visit the lost city. The inhabitants of Machu Picchu were engaged into long-distance trade, as do some unmodified obsidian nodules found there proof. These nodules were established to come from Titicaca or Chivay obsidian source.
Discover the great mysteries of the lost city of the incas, in the most very impressive way, by visiting Machu Picchu and seing its wonders.
We all praise modern day architects, but are they able to build such a wonder? And, who would praise the incas, as they have already achieved this goal houndreds of years ago?
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