City of Machu Picchu in Peru

Old peak” – one of the most extraordinary cities. Sandwiched between the two peaked peaks and edged the crown covered with forests of high mountains, it is situated at an altitude of 2,280 m on the steep slope above the valley of the “River of the Sun” Urubamba and is buried in the snow-white clouds and dense fog. Why did the Incas decided to settle in this remote place, high in the Andes, it is unclear so far. From settlements along the roads of the empire, controlled areas, endowed with full autonomy. Perhaps, Machu Picchu was created for the same, but an exceptional geographical location, is best suited to conduct astronomical observations, soon made him a privileged position. The Incas believed that the most beautiful landscapes, a gift of nature, endowed with supernatural powers.
In this regard, Machu Picchu was perfect, and even a mystical place where heaven and earth. Maybe him and chose to be as close to the sun and every hour to serve their supreme deity. It was long thought that people inhabited this area long before the Incas and megalithic stone structures and walls were the creations of the representatives of prehistoric civilization. The most daring scientists attributed the authorship of alien buildings architect. However, modern researchers have found that the city was built by the Inca ruler Pachacuti Yupankui in 1450. Machu Picchu could easily be the second summer residence of the emperor and his court, as the capital of Cuzco, the climate was much hotter. In 1533, Cusco was conquered by the Spaniards led by Francisco Pizarro, but in 1572 fell last capital of the Inca Vilkabamba. Between these two dates depopulated and Machu Picchu, but what was the precise reason, nobody knows. Researchers reject the hypothesis of invasion: no signs of violence or the destruction they found. There is an assumption that people squinted a smallpox epidemic. Or maybe the inhabitants left the city as a punishment for dishonor inflicted on one of the sacred virgins of the sun. According to the testimony Gartsilasa de Vega, son of Inca princess and Spanish aristocrat, the abuse of the holy virgin was punishable by the death of the perpetrator, all of his relatives, neighbors and even entire communities. in addition to the desecration of places you could not live even a pet. Whatever it was, but the researchers did not lose confidence in the fact that someday will be able to unravel the secret.
Machu Picchu, often referred to as the lost city of the Incas. Very little time was required to ensure that the jungle swallowed houses, temples and walls. City plunged into the 300-year sleep, until quite by accident was not discovered American Hiram Bingham, organized archaeological expeditions to South America. In one of his trips, he met an Indian who showed him the city, lost in the woods. Scientist, convinced that he discovered Vilkabambu, returned here after a year, with support from the National Geographic Society and the Government of Peru. Members of the expedition was cleared of vegetation, buildings, squares and artificial terraces of Machu Picchu. Studies H. Bingham lifted the veil of life of the ancient city, but so far our knowledge about this wonderful place is very limited.
Get into the fortress city of Machu Picchu was not easy. Safety was the main concern of people living in it. To him led one of paved roads, part of an extensive road network, encircling the entire territory of the Incas from the coast to the Andes. The closer to the mountains, the danger becomes the way: in many places a narrow road which could move only one man, runs along the frightening abysses and cliffs. On one side of the village was thrown a drawbridge over the abyss, on the other hand, the south-east, are not protected by steep cliffs, were constructed wall height of five meters and a thickness meter. In all the surrounding hills were watch towers.
Many of the buildings of Machu Picchu partially cut into the rock, partly built of skillfully fitted stone blocks. All kinds of projections and hollows ancient Peruvians adapted by building needs: the mountains and rocks from ancient times were for them the personification of the ancestors, so they never tried to modify. Magical significance and had a stone that was mined in the vicinity. Ibid huts housed artists, architects, skilled construction workers and ordinary workers.
Probably the fact that many stones were venerated as sacred by the Incas, it is possible to explain such a careful adjustment of the blocks. After all, between some of them can not stick and the blade! It is true that the highest degree of treatment differed only those stones which were to build churches and homes of the rich and noble citizens. It is known that the Incas polished blocks with bronze and stone tools, sometimes rubbing them against each other as long as they ideally do not touch each other. The local masters were able to make stones staples and multi-faceted stones-nails, which gave structure stability. Another sign of Inca architecture – a trapezoidal window and door openings, which often covered the multi-ton monoliths.
Machu Picchu was divided into three sectors. In one housed the royal residence, home of the nobility and the churches. Most Sacred space separates this area from the quarter of simple townsfolk, workshops, shops and cemeteries, arranged in the burial rock. Below, in the southern part of town were the homes of peasants with a pantry and corral. Gable roofs of their homes Incas covered with straw, which lay on the wooden beams, and fastened them to the stone pillars with vines. Several similar structures, scientists have tried to reconstruct. The results of their work can see the modern tourists.
In the south and west of Machu Picchu were built step-agricultural terraces, protected by walls of roughly worked stones. They were called “Andenes” (hence came the name of the Andes mountain range). Such an arrangement facilitates land irrigation and prevented the undermining of the soil. Andenes filled with fertile soil, brought in from the valley of Urubamba. It grew maize, potatoes, herbs and flowers. However, for the sustenance thousand population of Machu Picchu one of terraces is clearly lacking. Within a radius of five kilometers from the city found plenty of places to be used exclusively for farming and ranching. The peasants who lived there were people “second class” – representatives of the disparate tribes of ancient once displaced from their lands by the Incas.
Between a certain part of town, which, moreover, are at different levels, joins an extensive network of stone stairs cut directly into the rock. High level of engineering and architectural art was different and the water supply system. Water was supplied to the city from mountain springs to the artificially created channels. Sewage ancient nation today has the same effect as 500 years ago.
Sacred temples of Machu Picchu
It so happened that most Inca city known for its unusual temples. Holy of holies of Machu Picchu – the highest point of the city, Intiuatan – “a place favored by the sun.” His heart is a ritual stone, resembling a sundial. With the help of clerics determine the time of day, is calculated months and years. Stone-altar played a special role in the ceremony of symbolic tying of the sun, which is performed in order to shine back to Machu Picchu for the next year. Appease various deities to the sacrifice – perhaps it was not only animals but also children.
Temple of the Condor is very unusual, so named because of the stone, which repeats the shape of a bird head and beak. Behind him loom two rocks symbolizing the wings. It must be unusual stone also served as an altar, because the “beak” is surrounded by a gutter, which most likely had to drain the blood of victims. Perhaps, this temple was connected with the cult of the condor, which was the personification of freedom for the Incas, and air.
The undisputed masterpiece of architecture of the Incas – Temple of the Sun. Built on the rocks, it is somewhat reminiscent of condor nest. Hence, the priests could conduct astronomical observations, for example to determine the exact position of the sun, which was important for the mystical rituals. The semicircular wall of the church hide huge granite pedestal with a lot of potholes, similar to the altar and probably served as the altar. On its surface at the summer solstice at sunrise is always a streak of light.
At the foot of the rock, which built the temple of the sun, is the entrance to the cave, which served as probably the burial place for the mummies of some noble person. The Incas believed that the human soul remained attached to the body for as long as it was not touched by corruption. Therefore, the number of dead from the nobility and clergy were subjected to mummification. Incidentally, the mummies of the Incas did not resemble the classical Egyptian. In the east, outside the city limits was detected ritual stone with three steps. One of them marks the sky, the abode of the gods, the second – the earth, the third – the underworld, which returns all life. On this stone was laid dead, and then under the influence of sunlight during the day and cold winds at night there is their natural mummification.
Appointment of many temples of Machu Picchu is unknown. For example, what deity the temple was dedicated to the three windows, scientists have not yet figured out, though, and found that, as the Incas believed the windows of this building were to infinity.
New puzzles, and excavations have brought so-called Hall of mortars. At its center are the stones with a slotted hole in them, at a certain time is filled with water. Due to the special arrangement of windows and focus the sun’s rays this room could be used for astronomical research, such as the important calculation time farm work. It is also possible that these wells were used for the manufacture of paints priestesses of the crushed plants and minerals for a list of tissue and blood vessels. Local residents offer an explanation: in their view, water-filled mortars – two wide-open eyes, looking toward the sun and sky.
Today, Machu Picchu – a popular tourist center. Many aspire to here, to witness the unparalleled art of building of the Incas. But many leads here, and the legend of El Dorado – a mythical country, rich in gold and precious stones. Gold and silver Incas called tears of the sun and moon, these metals were sacred to them. Entirely different attitude towards them showed the Europeans. The first Spanish conquistadors seized Cuzco, found there are so many golden objects, which is about six months melted into ingots and sent to the metropolis (this is the cause of unprecedented in the history of the depreciation of gold: it is cheaper by several times).
Having exhausted the supply of the Incas, the Spaniards launched another campaign to search for treasure, believed the instructions that they are hidden not far from Cuzco in rugged mountain terrain. Machu Picchu by virtue of its location has long identified with this fabulous edge. And, despite the fact that products made of precious metals in it was detected, it is still called The Golden City of the Incas. But even without such an impressive history of lonely, lost in the mountains of Machu Picchu could be considered one of the most mysterious cities. It is doubtful whether this plan will compete with any other corner of the planet. City of Machu Picchu in Peru

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