... A wonder in Peru
When I last wrote about Peru, we were in Lima and boarded a small airplane which flew over the Andes Mountain.We landed in Cuzco and were told to rest as the altitude was quite high and one could get "mountain sickness". Cuzco was the ancient capital of Peru when Francisco Pizzaro came from Spain with his army and conquered the Inca Indians. After touring Cuzco, we boarded a narrow gauge train for a three hour ride to Maccu Picchu.The train performed what is called a "Switch Back". It moved backward and then forward down the side of the mountain. We arrived at the base of the Andes Mountain and then boarded a bus, with about 20 passengers that took us up to the summit. The ride was about 20 minutes long and the bus did a zig-zag up the side of the mountain over a dirty, winding road. Believe me, I held my breath all the way as one mistake and we would tumble down the Andes. We reached the top and were amazed at what we saw. On the plateau, the Inca Indians had built an entire city. This city had been discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911.
This city is called Maccu Picchu. In the Quechua Language the name Maccu signifies "The Ancient Summit". It was built during the mid-15th century by the Inca Indians but was abandoned before Francisco Pizzaro and his army conquered the Inca indians. The city was built into the sides of the Andes mountain, and is a maze of plazas, palaces, and chambers connected by stairways.
Terrazas De Cultivo
The indians terraced the mountain side in order to plant coca and food for the needs of the people. All sides of the city are terraced, and they look like gigantic staircases: many of them seem to barely hang from the enormous precipices that surround the city.
Water, which is vital to life, came from the slopes of the high peaks into narrow and delicate stone canals. The water flowed into the center of the city where there were 16 perfectly tooled fountains.
This main fountain stands out from the rest not only because of its large size, but also the glossiness of the stone. Some historians believe that this fountain may have been "El Bano del Inca" (Bath of the Inca) or "Sumo Sacerdote" (High Priest). This fountain could have been used as a small temple or maybe a place where other rituals were made of the water itself.
Intiwatana Observatorio Solar
At the summit, there stands a finely worked rock whose one solid piece shows the base in the form of a rectangle. This could have been an altar to worship the Sun God. Others feel that this was a solar observatory, as one of the corners of the rock points directly north. This indicates that the Inca Indians had determined the geographical North of the earth. From this point they could see the rising and setting sun. Just another fact to prove that this was a solar observatory. The name Intiwatana is Cuechuan, Inti is Sun, Watana is Year.
When you look at the pictures of the wall in Cusco and the buildings in Maccu Picchu, you should observe that the rocks and stones used to build them are not only large, but also fitted to each other with perfection. One could not slide a blade between them. I was told that the buildings were built to be earthquake proof. The following pictures are examples of the construction of walls and buildings.
Although it has been 20 years since I was in Peru, I remember with pleasure the sites and sounds of the Inca Indians.
Photos used with permission of
Feb. 05, 2000