Last week I went to Machu Picchu for the 6th and 7th times this year to do some research on the citadel. While I’m still working on a project to be discussed later, I thought I’d share some photos from my time up there with a little explanation of most.
Too many times I go places and take a ton of photos, but they never seem to get shared. This time I thought I’d make sure to take the time to post these for others to see. (Be sure to click on each to see the larger version!)
La Puente Inca (The Inca Bridge)
I really didn’t go with the plan to take the short hike to the Inca Bridge on the west side of Machu Picchu mountain, but decided to change plans when I learned the Inca Road up to the Inti Punku (Sun Gate) was still blocked by a landslide.
Hardly anyone takes the extra 30 minutes to get there despite it being an easy walk with some magnificent views of the Urubamba Valley to the west. This is something that should not be missed.
Without a source of water, Machu Picchu would never have been built. It was certainly the first priority of the Inca engineers who chose this location.
Fortunately a year-round spring was located nearly 800m from the center of Machu Picchu which was able to supply water for its residents.
While the spring itself is off limits to visitors, it still provides the water which flows into Machu Picchu and down the 16 fountains in the center of the site.
This was one of my main focuses on this trip as, like most every other visitor, I hadn’t paid any attention to water and the fundamental importance its management paid to the design, construction, and permanence of Machu Picchu.
I will definitely be writing more about this part of Machu Picchu’s engineering in the future!
The Sacred Plaza and the Inithuatana
The Sacred Plaza is a collection of buildings which defy explanation. I have spent countless hours studying each of the buildings and structures closely. Each time I’m there I see different things which add to my understanding of this important part Machu Picchu.
I don’t think there’s any Inca construction that holds my attention as much as the Intihuatanas which dominate each of the three remaining locations in which they can still be seen.
Why do am I so fascinated by these? Probably because they are simply unexplained. Their importance can not be understated as they occupied significant places. Indeed, the Intihuatana at Machu Picchu was carved from the massive granite outcrop upon which it sits at the highest point in the main Machu Picchu site.
Bingham named it the Intihuatana from the Inca word roughly meaning “Hitching Post of the Sun.” Traditionally its importance has been related to the sun and even referred to as a sundial or an astrological construction. The truth is, there is no evidence to support any of those beliefs.
More likely it was an abstract representation of the surrounding sacred mountains which the Incas gave the highest regard as they were considered not only their protectors, but also the controllers of life-giving resources.
The biggest discovery of the week is something I’m going to hold off writing about just yet because it may be something very significant. Almost by accident, I may have come across something that even scholars who have studied Machu Picchu missed. This is something I first need to discuss with those who know a lot more than I do!
Other Interesting Photos
Every trip to Machu Picchu brings lots of new revelations and interesting sights. This trip was no different.
One of my favorite things to do is simply walk very, very slowly. Often I stop and just look around at everything around me — the walls, the floor, the construction, and every little detail that would normally go unnoticed. This is where new things are seen and new things are learned.
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