Keith and I reached one of the world’s wonder on the 4th day of our Lares Valley Trek – Machu Picchu adventure. This was my second visit to this majestic ruin of the Incas, yet it still took my breath away just like the first time. Sharing it with Keith this time was a much more magical experience.
“It took my breath away. What could this place be? Why had no one given us any idea of it? – Hiram Bingham, Lost City of the Incas.
The glory of Machu Picchu at dawn. Thanks to Hiram Bingham, the American explorer who discovered the ruins in 1911, we get to experience the marvel of the Inca’s royal citadel after being hidden for more that 400 years.
“The sanctuary was lost for centuries because this ridge in the most inaccessible corner of the most inaccessible section of the central Andes. No part of the highlands of Peru is better defended by natural bulwarks – a stupendous canyon whose rock is granite and whose precipices are thousand feet sheer…Yet here in a remote part of the canyon …a highly civilized people, artistic, inventive, well organized, and capable of sustained endeavor…built themselves a sanctuary ….” -Hiram Bingham, Lost City of the Incas.
Machu Picchu’s location at 8,000 feet gives it a stunning view of the spectacular Andean peaks. No wonder the Incas chose this site to build their splendid fortress, which the experts believed to be a winter sanctuary of the Inca Kings to escape the winter chills of the Incan capital city of Cuzco.
“The ruins…perched on the top of a narrow ridge lying below the peak of Machu Picchu, are called the ruins of Machu Picchu, because no one knew what else to call them. “- Hiram Bingham, Lost City of the Incas.
A pathway on the ruins that offers a view of peak of Huayna Picchu (“Young Peak).
The agricultural terraces and the Hut of the Caretaker of the Funerary Rock, which stands on the highest point of the archeological site. There’s a carved rock behind the hut believed to be a place to mummify the Inca royalty, hence the hut’s name.
One of the trapezoidal doors in Machu Picchu. Throughout the site, the doors and windows are in trapezoidal forms, the shape that is an emblem of the Incan architectural style.
A fine example of trapezoidal windows and exceptional stonework that the Incas are known for. The irregular shaped stones are perfectly and so closely fitted together that you cannot slip a piece of paper in their cracks.
View of the Temple of the Sun and ceremonial baths.
“We scrambled along through dense undergrowth…..suddenly without warning the boy showed me a cave beautifully lined with finest cut stone. It had evidently been the Royal Mausoleum. On top of this particular ledge was a semi-circular building…This might also be a Temple of the Sun. It followed natural curvature of the rock and was keyed to it by one of the finest example of masonry I had ever seen…Clearly it was a work of a master artist.” -Hiram Bingham
The Sacred Plaza is the location of the two finest buildings in this Inca city which amazed Hiram Bingham – the Principal Temple and The Temple of three Windows. The Principal Tempel is the prominent structure in this photo.
“Suddenly we found ourselves standing in front of the ruins of the two of the finest and most interesting structures in the ancient America…The sight held me spellbound.
The principal temple had wall 12 feet high…under the seven rear niches ws a rectangular block 14 feet long, possibly a sacrificial altar or a throne for the mummies of the departed Incas, brought out to be worshipped…I could scarcely believe my senses as I examined the larger blocks on the lower course and estimated that they weigh from 10-15 tons each. Would anyone believe what I had found?”- Hiram Bingham, Lost City of the Inca.
“On the east side of the plaza is another amazing structure, the ruin off the temple containing three great windows looking over the canyon to the rising sun…they were beautifully made with the greatest care and solidity.”
“…digging on the outside and below the three windows resulted in discovery of potsherds, pieces of vase and jars….it mush have been the custom to throw earthware out of the windows of these temple…Were these pots, then, offering to the gods?…Possible they were broken in the course of religious ceremonies or the drunken orgies which followed.” – Hiram Bingham, Lost City of the Incas
We left Machu Picchu as amazed and as intrigued as when we arrived. The more we saw of it the more we wondered. What were they really about? How exactly did the Incas built this incredible site. For as much architectural grandeur they left behind, the Incas did not leave any written language, something that would give a precise light about them and the creation of this sight. But I guess, every niche, every carve and precision in cut and placement of their massive stoneworks is their written language, their way of conveying to us that they were strong, they were exceptionally creative, they were intelligent and yes, they were intriguing.