I’ve been to Machu Picchu more than 15 times this year alone — most of those outside the current busy tourist season. Ever time I find myself taking more photos of places where the Incas actually integrated the mountain itself into their construction.
In modern times, we tend to destroy then built on top of what’s left. The Incas had a completely different approach that was founded on their reverence for nature instead of today’s desire to dominate and take from nature instead of sharing life with it.
I’m not going to get into Inca cosmology or mysticism regarding nature, but suffice it to say that I am fascinated with how they integrated nature into their construction.
This photo gallery is a series of pics showing only a small sample of the many examples of the symbiosis of nature and Inca architecture.
[While there’s no particular order or arrangement to these, be sure to click on the individual photos to see them larger!]
A number of stones throughout Machu Picchu are carved into the shape of arrows pointing the way to certain important points of interest to the Incas. How many can you find?
I found the stone on the left after climbing up on it to get a better view. I have not been able to determine where it is pointing , but was deliberately carved.
The stone on the right also points in a direction that is not so obvious. I have not checked it’s alignment on a map — maybe next time — but it may be pointing south toward Ausangate. Interestingly, on the winter solstice (June 21), it’s shadow points in a completely different direction towards the distant ruins of Llactapata which obviously had an important relationship to Machu Picchu.
The one photo that almost every tourist misses is the main entrance to Machu Picchu shown above. Everyone takes photos from above while standing in the doorway, but what they miss is the view that the Incas intended — the sight of Huayna Picchu aligned perfectly behind the door and the main entrance passage.
I don’t believe that Inca engineers built anything without a purpose. Their sense of integration with the not only the geology of their surroundings, but also the geography, is unmatched and worthy of further study. It is amazing how everything was integrated with precision and planning that tourists never know.
People who come to Machu Picchu are understandably awed at the beauty of the architecture and it’s fantastic location high on top of a jungle mountain, but what they see only touches the surface of what Machu Picchu really is.
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