Machu Picchu The Word “machu” means “old” in Quechua. “Picchu” means “mountain” Thus, “old mountain”. This the name given to the archeological complex built by the Incas. It is located northeast of the city of Cusco, at an elevation of 2400 masl. It is in the valley of the Urubamba River.
The true history of Machu Picchu has been lost over the course of time. Some documents from the 16th century say that it was the vacation home of the Inca Pachacutec. Nevertheless, most scholars think that it was primarily a religious sanctuary.
The Incan Citadel of Machu Picchu is composed of plazas, temples, pathways, stairways, terraces, and aqueducts. It covers an area of about 20 hectares, and is divided into 2 sectors: the urban sector and the agricultural sector. One prime feature of the site is how it adapts to the form and condition of the terrain on which it is situated.
The agricultural sector is located to the south of the city proper. It is composed of an extensive series of terraces that fulfilled various functions during Inca times. Not only were the terraces used to grow food, but they also served to prevent erosion. The terraces are covered in light vegetation today.
The urban sector is located to the north. It is notable for its buildings and plazas. Within the urban sector you’ll see the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Temple of the 3 Windows.
The Intihuatana (the Hitching Post of the Sun) or the Sun Clock is carved out of a giant piece of granite. It has the form of a prism and its 4 sides face the 4 cardinal directions. It is located on the top of the sacred hill. It is one of the greatest mysteries of the Incan culture. We know that the Incas were able to keep track of time by the effects of the light and the shade.
The Temple of the Sun
The Temple of the Sun is a semi-circular construction that contains 2 trapezoidal windows. It was built on top of limestone formation that also holds the House of the Princess, the Tower, and the Mausoleum. According to the chroniclers, during Incan times the Temple was inhabited and its walls were covered with gold and precious stones. The Temple of the Sun was a very exclusive place which only the Inca and the high priests were allowed to enter.
The Temple of the Three Windows
The Temple of the 3 Windows is an enclosure built around a 4-sided patio. The Temple is in the upper part of the city, the ¨Hanan¨ neighborhood. This is the most important part of Machu Picchu. Its most distinguishing feature is its 3 trapezoidal windows built into the wall of polygonal stones.
To travel to Machu Picchu is to realize your dreams, and to connect with your inner self. To travel to Machu Picchu is to enter into thousands of years of living history. Come visit Machu Picchu, the new Wonder of the Modern World.