Peru: They say Machu Picchu was built in or around the 1400s, over a span of one hundred years. The guide told us that in the 1500s, the locals had removed all the city’s gold and deserted the city to escape the Spanish and so seeing it had nothing to offer them, the Spanish passed over it. The city became covered with jungle. Then local people showed Machu Picchu to Yale University Professor Hiram Bingham in 1911, and it has been on the map ever since.
Unesco.org says: “The approximately 200 structures making up this outstanding religious, ceremonial, astronomical and agricultural centre are set on a steep ridge, crisscrossed by stone terraces. Following a rigorous plan the city is divided into a lower and upper part, separating the farming from residential areas, with a large square between the two. To this day, many of Machu Picchu’s mysteries remain unresolved, including the exact role it may have played in the Incas’ sophisticated understanding of astronomy and domestication of wild plant species.”
At Machu Picchu, the stone sun dials were set to line up with the sun on summer solstice. The Puma Temple had two round shallow pools to represent the puma’s eyes. I saw a chinchilla scuffling about the Condor Temple. As I understood it, the Inca religion speaks of a trilogy of god representations: the Condor of the sky swirls up and down, the Puma on land is the strongest and fastest and the Snake can go below ground. If there were remains of a Snake Temple, I missed it.
After taking in all sorts of historical facts and tramping all over the large site, the sun took a bit out of me. For me, the best part of Machu Picchu was sitting back and admiring it.
“Few romances can ever surpass that of the granite citadel on top of the beetling precipices of Machu Picchu, the crown of Inca Land.” —Hiram Bingham
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