Sacred City, Machu Picchu
This is said to be an ancient place of worship and it is indeed intriguing with its astronomical alignments all the way up to the sun gate. Who can say what really went on here? There are as many theories as there are guides (I believe each one to have their own version of the story). But that's ok as long as they are entertaining
The "Lost City of the Incas" was built in the 15th century. It was inhabited for about 100 years, before being deserted at the time of the Spanish conquest. The Spaniards never made it to Machu Picchu at the time, so unlike many other sites in Peru, it was more or less in its original state when Hiram Bingham came upon it in 1911. Excavations began the following year, mostly to clear the jungle that had overtaken the site. Several artifacts were found and shipped to the Yale University Museum (much to the dismay of local archeologists). They were supposed to be on loan for a study period of 18 months, but the university ended up keeping them for nearly a century! The American response to the Peruvian government's protests was that Peru did not possess the necessary technology to preserve the artifacts. They finally relented and thousands of items were shipped back to Peru between 2011 and 2012.
We woke up at 4:30 am in the hopes of seeing the sun rise over Machu Picchu, but the morning was too cloudy to see much of anything. However, walking through the mystical site as it was engulfed in clouds was an eerie a feeling I'm glad to have experienced, especially since the clouds lifted after a while. We were lucky to have our knowledge-savvy guide with us: he gave us a great introduction to the site before leaving us with plenty of time to explore the site on our own, meet some of its permanent residents, and take plenty of pictures.
Please note that tickets to Macchu Picchu should be booked online as entrance to the site is limited to 2500 visitors a day. Although this number may seem high, given the popularity of the site, some days are completely sold out well in advance.
This view here must be one of the most photographed views, giving a general idea of the layout of the town that once stood here, with the Huayna Picchu (young Peak) as a back drop its well worth the one hours climb to the top
On the eastern side of the central green (as we would call it in New England) is a concentrated area of houses and public buildings. Unlike the western section, which housed the nobility and surrounds the Sacred Plaza, most of the buildings in this area have a more mundane function. None of them are connected to an aqueduct, which also indicates a lesser importance. However, this makes it interesting in its own way and it certainly should not be skipped.
The Sacred City is such a beautiful place, the landscape is so awesome, and everything is full of mystery... just enjoy it.
La Ciudad Sagrada es un lugar tan bello, el paisaje es tan impresionante, y todo está tan lleno de misterio... disfrútalo.
The doorway used to visit the Sacred City is not the "real" one; the ancient doorway was situated between the mountains, at a quite inaccessible place. The picture shows, far away, the main doorway.
La entrada utilizada para visitar la Ciudad Sagrada no es la "verdadera"; el antiguo ingreso estaba ubicado entre las montañas, en un lugr bastante inaccesible. La foto muestra, a lo lejos, la entrada principal.
How did the Incas built the Sacred City and other constructions?
Machu Picchu is situated at a mountainous area, practically inaccessible. How did they take the stones to that place?
The walls, almost untouched, are built stone over stone, without mortar; the stones are cut in such way that are perfectly embeded.
How did the cut the stones?
There are some hypotheses, but the real explanation is unknown.
¿Cómo construyeron los incas la Ciudad Sagrada y otros edificios?
Machu Picchu está situada en una zona montañosa, prácticamente inaccesible. ¿Cómo llevaron las piedras hasta allí?
Las murallas, casi intactas, están construidas piedra sobre piedra, sin mortero entre ellas; están cortadas de modo tal que encajan perfectamente unas con otras. ¿Cómo las cortaron?
Existen varias hipótesis, pero la explicación real se desconoce.
Machu Picchu is not exactly what you mean when you say 'a city of ruins'. The city was just abandoned. Of course with the time of centuries the roof which were made of grass fell down (and has been reconstructed on the house in this picture). Then, when the vegetation begun to grow it made damages at the city. More damages were also done when cutting down all the trees after that Hiram Bingham had found the city, damages by falling trees as well as when taking away the roots etcetera.
This is across the Principal Plaza looking at some of the workmanship that went into the making of the stones to build this city.
Some smaller buildings next to large terraces are part of this section and thought to have served as lookout posts.
The lost city is massive. I was not expecting it to be as big as it was. You will definately need a lot of time to see everything