Machu Picchu Architecture
Machu Picchu has about 200 buildings that are considered architectural wonders. These buildings were made of individually shaped pieces of carved gray granite stone that fitted perfectly together. Regular Inca buildings were built with rectangular stones which have 8 corners and 6 sides. However, Inca architecture is most known for its polygonal stones used in many religious buildings, they used the largest and most intricate polygonal shaped stones. One temple wall in Machu Picchu has 33 corners.
The gray granite used to build the city was widely available at the ridge. Small pieces were usually detached due to earthquakes. Large pieces were quarried from the bedrock by pounding on natural cracks. Transporting these rocks to the construction site represented a challenge. Small rocks were transported by llamas. Llamas were pack animals but not very strong, they can carry up to 45 kg or 100 lbs, if forced with a heavy load they would refuse to move. Large blocks of granite had to be dragged by men using woven ropes to pull and levers to push them to the construction site. These workers were mita laborers who paid taxes by working, they would get clothes, health care, education and food in exchange for their labor.
Stonemasons shaped large granite blocks by pounding rocks on them, they were able to flatten and create smooth edges and corners so that each piece interlocked with the next one to create a wall. The skill to shape a polygonal block and fit it with such precision against another is remarkable considering that they did not use mortar or cement. The most expert Inca masons shaped blocks of stones with stone axes, obsidian pebbles and smoothed the edges with sand.
As in other Inca cities, Machu Picchu followed the religious architectural pattern of truncated pyramid construction. Buildings contained rectangular rooms with irregular sized walls, their roof was made of wooden logs and covered with straw. Today, due to the passage of time, the buildings do not have a roof any more. The only construction with a semicircular wall is the Temple of the Sun. The Temple of the Sun was the most important building in Machu Picchu. Priests observed how the shadows of the sun cast through the windows creating a spiritual connection with Inti.
Other significant monuments are the Intihuatana stone, the Room of the Three Windows, water fountains or pools, Royal Mausoleum and the Residence of the Priest.
More Information about Machu Picchu
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.
The most significant archeology sites are the Temple of the Sun, Intihuatana stone, the Room of the Three Windows, water fountains or pools, Royal Mausoleum, the Residence of the Priest.