Machu Picchu Tours – Paying Homage to the Most Familiar Inca IconMayan & Inca Sites | February 23, 2010
Machu Picchu, meaning Old Peak, is a sacred pre-Columbian spot at 2,430 m on a mountain edge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru. Designated as a Historical Sanctuary in Peru and World Heritage Site, it has been described as “an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to the Inca civilization.” Not only this, but it was among the New Seven Wonders of the World when an online and telephonic poll was conducted by the New7Wonders foundation. If you are looking for a cool holiday, check out Machu Picchu tours.
Tracing its history, many archaeologists are of the opinion that Machu Picchu was constructed in 1430 A.D. in the classical Inca style with dry-stone walls for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Known as the ‘The Lost City of the Incas’, it has until now attracted many tourists from all around the world. Introduced to the world in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham, Machu Picchu is both a cultural and sacred destination.
Lucky enough to be not ransack by the Spanish at the time of invading the Incas, much of its holy rocks and temples are in a well preserved state.
Knowing the Site
The ruins of Machu Picchu are split into two main areas: Urban sector and Agricultural Sector through a wall. The urban sector was further subdivided into the Sacred District, the Popular District to the south, and the District of the Priests and the Nobility. On the other hand, the Agricultural Sector was further split into Upper and Lower sectors.
The Incas were the experts of the ashlar art wherein the stone blocks are cut to attach to each other tightly without mortar to tolerate the seismic shakes. The walls depict the various design details that could prevent them from collapsing during an earthquake. The doors and windows are trapezoidal with rounded corners and inward tilt. Machu Picchu tours are famous all over for such architecture.
The area holds 140 structures – temples, sanctuaries, parks, and residences with thatched roofs. Further, over 100 stone steps carved from a granite block and numerous water fountains interconnected by channels are also traced here. It could be seen that this irrigation system provided water to the houses from a holy spring.
The main monuments are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows located in the Sacred District of Machu Picchu. All of them were devoted to Inti, their most revered deity – the sun god. The Popular District, Residential District, was the residing place of the lower class people and holds storage buildings and simple houses. The royalty area, for the nobility, boasts several houses in rows. There is also a Monumental Mausoleum, a statue with vaulted interior and drawings for rituals or sacrifices.
The Intihuatana ritual stone is one of such stones in South America, which is an astronomic clock pointing straight to the sun at winter solstice. Intihuatana means “The Hitching Post of the Sun” and it represents the wonderful arrangement of stones that are believed to grip the sun at their place. Exactly at 12 in the afternoon on March 21 and September 21, the sun places itself above the pillar with no shadow. There a lot of people coming here for Machu Picchu tours.