Machu Picchu Archaeological Sites
Machu Picchu was built as a retreat for the Inca and his family to worship Inti and other Inca gods. As a sacred place a lot of planning was put into its construction; priests, architects and engineers studied how the light of the sun and the moon radiated to each mountain and how the stars aligned to each building. Meticulous architectural and engineering planning was required in order to meet religious standards. Lets not forget that Machu Picchu is located in semi tropical land or highland jungle where rain can be intense and earthquakes frequent. Inca engineers had the knowledge to erect anti seismic buildings and ensure at the same time that the land would not erode.
The following are the archaeological sites in Machu Picchu divided into north and south:
- Inca bridge
- Main gate
- Temples zone
- Temple of the Three Windows
- Intiwatana Astronomical Observatory
- Agricultural sector
- Storage sites or “Qolqas”
- Temple of the Sun
- Fountains, Inca House
- Temple of the Condor
- Group of the Three Doorways
- Main Square
- Ceremonial Rock
Temple of the Sun
The Temple of the Sun also known as the Torreon may have served as a primitive solar observatory. It was dedicated to their greatest deity, the Sun. Enclosed by a semicircular wall, the only one in Machu Picchu, the room contains a stone altar and windows strategically placed to observe astronomical events. Two windows are aligned to the stone altar, which is located at the center of the room. According to how it catches the sun’s rays it signals the winter and summer solstices, the longest and shortest days of the year.
The window facing southeast provides a view of the constellation Pleiades also known as Collca by the Incas. This constellation was responsible for the preservation of seed and was especially revered. The observation of Pleiades helped them calculate changes in season to make decisions about the times of planting and harvest. The Temple of the Sun is the best display of Inca masonry skills. Large granite walls were shaped to fit perfectly together to form rounded walls without the use of cement or mortar. This wall and the ingeniously carved steps formed some sort of altar where priests offered gifts to the Sun to keep him happy.
The Intiwatana stone or “Hitching Post of the Sun” was used by the Incas to measure the angle of the sun and shows when the solstice and equinoxes occur. At mid day on March 21st and September 21st the sun stands directly above the pillar forming no shadow at all. At these moments the Incas held a ceremony tying the sun to the rock therefore the name “Hitching Post of the Sun”.
Since the Sun or Inti was the most powerful deity in Inca religion he was an important factor in the success of the crop season. The significance of this ceremony was to hitch the sun to the stone and convince him to stay stopping it from going too far on the darkness. The time leading to the winter solstice was a time of uncertainty since the sun was getting lower and lower and the days darker. It was an attempt to make sense of unexplainable natural phenomena. Every important city had one Intiwatana.
The Incas were polytheist, they worshiped the Sun, the Moon, natural resources and animals.
Hiram Bingham, an American explorer, accidentally discovered the “Lost City of the Incas”, it was covered in dense vegetation.
There must have been a good reason to justify the laborious construction of this magic city in such a challenging land.
The Inca citadel is located 80 km northwest the city of Cusco, it sits majestically between the mountains of Machu Picchu and Wuayna Picchu in the most unreachable area of the Urubamba River.
There are two sectors in Machu Picchu, each sector was constructed on a natural division due to a geological fault.
A no-fly zone restriction exists above the area.
Tags: Andes, Cusco, Hiram Bingham, Inca, Inca Architecture, Inca civilization, inca culture, Inca empire, Inca history, incas, Inti, Intihuatana Stone, Machu Picchu, Machu Picchu Cusco, Pachacuti, Room of the three windows, Sun, Temple of the Sun, Travel Cusco, travel Machu Picchu