Machu Picchu

Topics: Inca Empire, Machu Picchu, Cusco Pages: 3 (910 words) Published: November 17, 2008
Machu Picchu

The sacred city of Machu Picchu (in Quechua: old mountain) is the greatest Inca masterpiece. Incredibly daring and inventive, it was built on the most difficult, wild and inaccessible mountain area available. It is known world-wide not only for its impressive and unique ruins, but also for its unusual location on the edge of an abyss, from which one can appreciate the vigorous waters of the Urubamba river. I wonder how the Incas were able to carry the huge blocks of stone to the top of the mountain and build such a spectacular exponent of their wisdom and culture remains a mystery to this day. Of religious and military origin, the sacred city of Machu Picchu was enclosed by a 6-meter high by 1.8 wide wall. According to the archaeologist Alfredo Valencia, Machu Picchu can be divided into two major sections: the urban and the agricultural. Each part encloses two sub-sections-the western and eastern-which are defined in relation to their topographic location. The agricultural section is divided into higher and lower ground. The high ground consists of five premises, the shrine (pile of stones marking a holy site) and over 40 platforms. The low ground, meanwhile, comprises seven premises, four “canchones” (open areas) and approximately 80 platforms. Some of the numerous agricultural terraces, which are placed in succession, are connected by stone stairways fitted in the walls, while others are linked by various set of steps forming corridors. The layout of the terraces and platforms is in perfect harmony with the mountains surrounding the site. Thus, the hillsides seem to be sculpted to harmonize with nature. The urban sector, which is clearly separated from the former by a perimeter wall, was only approachable through an imposing double jamb façade. This architectural detail was typical of the building style of the Incas. The Inca Trail, which ends in this sector, links the city of Cusco with Machu Picchu. The urban section is composed of 172...
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