Temples, Machu Picchu
After walking past the Residential Sector, you´ll reach the District of the Priests and Nobility, where all the temples and palaces are located.
The Temple of the Sun, shaped like a "P", will certainly call your attention from almost everywhere in Machu Picchu. It was a temple dedicated to Inti, the Sun God, the most important divinity for the incas.
A few mummies were found above this temple, most of then were women.
Machu Picchu's Temple of the Sun is immediately recognizable from above, when you first enter the ruined city by the guardhouse. In a city of rectangular walls and floor plans, it is the only circular structure. Inside the curved wall is a rock that contains a straight ledge that bisects the beam of sun entering the temple at sunrise on 21 June -- the winter solstice. This evidence led people to believe that thetemple was a solar observatory or had some role in a heliocentric religion.
The Temple of Three Windows receives its name for the three windows, pictured here in the centre, in the main face of the building. They are flanked by two closed bays. Like many of the doors and windows at Machu Picchu, the windows are of a trapezoid shape. Note how smoothly the huge rocks have been carved and placed so tightly together. From the windows it is possible to see the snowcapped peaks of the nearby mountains. Unfortunately the overcast was too heavy the day I visited to see anything too far distant.
The Temple of the Sun is one of the more famous structures within the ruins of Machu Picchu. It is semicirular in structure consisting of large stones fitted together seamlessly. The temple has a window that is perfectly aligned with the June winter solstice. During this period the rays of the sun would burst through the window lighting up the interior room. From the window, the constellation of the Pleiades can also be seen. This constellation was a very important astronomical symbol for the Inca. The positioning of the Pleiades would tell the Inca peoples when to plant certain crops.
The Principal Temple, facing away from Huayna Picchu in the Sacred Plaza, is significant due to its high quality stonework. The ground has settled under one corner, which has caused it to sag slightly, but not collapse, even after 600+ years and countless earthquakes.
Behind the Principal Temple is the "Sacristy". If you went to see the 12-Edged Stone in Cusco, take a gander at the massive boulders used on either side of the entrance to this small room - each one has at least 33 edges in 3-D, perfectly fitted to the adjoining stones.
The Temple of the Sun at Machu Picchu is built on a curved foundation of natural rock. Underneath is the so-called "Royal Tomb", where mummies were found laid out.
The Temple entrance is cordoned off, but you can see inside it from above - just go out to the steps on the right and up two levels. The window on the left (can't see from this picture) is the Serpent Window, so named because of the holes along the edges.
When Bingham found this finely finished ,semi-circular tower,it reminded him of The Koricancha Temple of the Sun in Cusco.Another places where the sun was worshipped,apparnantly he was right.
2 of the windows here align with the sun rises on the Summer and the Winter solstices.
From this the Inca astronomers would give information about when and what to harvest.
Under the Temple is a grotto,called The Royal Tomb,where some tombs were found.
The central plaza that separates the religious from the urban section, has a great rock in the center. The religious section contains splendid architecture an masonry work, one of the most important and enigmatic is probably the Intihuatana shrine, this block of granite was presumably used to make astronomical observations.
This structure is believed to have been used for astronomical observation. It's the only curved structure in the ruins.
Here is the stone designed by its shadow to mark the equinox. It demonstrates the sophisticated astronomonical knowledge of the Incas.
The facade faces the east,this photo shows how The Sacred Plaza rest on a series of terraces on the slpoe of the mountain.
A very important structure in this section is the "Temple of the Sun", a: circular tower with the best stonework of Machu Picchu.
Next to this structure is another three walled building, known as the 'Temple of the Three Windows', so called because of the trapezoidal openings on the east wall.
Descending the hill next to this site is the Great Central Temple, a three walled building with fine stonework and an attached smaller temple called the "Sacristy".