Posted by Vi Warkentin on
Machu Picchu - Here I stand, facing into the Main Temple. This structure has partial intact walls - the back wall is showing signs of collapse. The walls also have niches in them - a place where the Incas placed huacas (sacred objects) in. A closer look at the huacas (niches). If you take a close look at these polished stone walls, you’ll see a technique used called ashlar, that is using blocks of stone cut to fit together without the use of mortar. The Incas were definitely masters of this technique! Because Peru is highly seismic, it made sense to use a mortar-free technique rather than mortar construction. Using the ashlar technique allows the stones to move slightly and resettle without collapsing should the earth shift.
Another example below of living steps - stairs carved out of the actual bedrock. Numerous examples of this is found throughout the city.
An amazing find in Machu Picchu is the Intihuatana stone - a carved piece of granite with its purpose remaining a mystery. Many theories exist! Intihuatana literally means ‘Hitching Post of the Sun’ and is located on the top of a pyramid built in the highest part of the Urban Area of Machu Picchu. Many explanations such as an astronomic clock or a solar clock showing when the solstices and equinoxes would be occuring (perhaps helping with when to plant their crops etc.) but not to be confused with a sun dial which it is not. Some feel that this stone has special powers and by holding their hands just centimeters above the rock they feel an explicable strength/energy radiating from it. Another grand mystery in these Incan ruins.Another spiny whorltail iguana - one of many around this region. This one was about 20 cm. in length.Such amazing construction found throughout Machu Picchu.Such precision!A look inside the Temple of the Three Windows - three very large trapezoidal windows facing east. It also has only three walls, built with rectangular stones. Mystery surrounds the absence of a fourth wall - had the city been abandoned before it was completed? On the very left edge of this photo is a column - perhaps used as an alter for sacrifices or a column used to hold a cross beam which would hold up a roof. Varying explanations exist!I left the Sacred Plaza area and headed down the west side of the pyramid - down a long set of narrow steps. These niches were in the side of the wall along those steps.Narrow steps down the west edge of the pyramid which houses the sacred structures.Whew - made it without falling off the edge into the Urubamba River!
Looking away from Machu Picchu altogether, this view is from the edge of the stairs above but looking back - towards the south -southwest. This is the mountain to the south of Machu Picchu which has a water pipeline tunnel drilled through it and down to the Urubamba River - for hydro-electrical purposes! Note pipes exiting from mountain on RH side of photo. Also note the various trails cris-crossing the mountain.Back at Machu Picchu, a look up at the pyramid-like structure which contains the sacred temples.
And more steps leading down to the main plaza.
Seeing all these terraces and all this rock was truly mind-boggling!
Light grey structure at center-right is the Temple of the Sun and nearby is the Temple of the Condor - will be making my way over there now. More details on these temples in next post.What have we here? I was headed over to the Temple of the Sun and spotted this little furry friend. It is the mountain viscacha, a member of the chinchilla family. It eats a wide range of plant matter, settling for anything that it can find growing in this rocky environment. This particular viscacha was about the size of a large rabbit.Day 6 - Friendly Planet - Amazing Peru Tour