Machu Picchu

About place: Machu Picchu

Machu-Picchu is one of the world's famous destinations for all lovers of extreme and interesting adventures. You can't get there by a comfortable bus but have to go up the mountain path of the Inkas. The path itself is a historical site, however, in the end of the way every traveler can also enjoy breathtaking views of Machu-Picchu.

Machu-Picchu (Old Mountain) is a mountain at which foot the city of the same is located. Unfortunately, no one has ever known the real name of this city. Supposedly, it was founded in the middle of XV century by the chief of the Inkas called Pachakutek. Hundred years later the Empire of the Inka was captured by conquistadors, and about the same time the city was deserted by all its inhabitants, even though the Spanish didn’t find it and there were no signs that it has ever been captured or conquered. Probably, the new chief simply didn’t like it and leave it and so did the rest of its population.

Machu-Picchu was a small city, and it couldn’t be extended anymore as its territory was confined by rocks and precipices. The city was at the altitude of over 2 000 meters above the valley of the river Urubamba, and its area was some 33 000 hectares. There is a suggestion that Machu-Picchu was a kind of religious center.

There lived priests, high nobility and mamakunas – the selected virgins (sun virgins), who devoted themselves to the service of Inti, the god of Sun. That’s why out of 173 burials 150 were those of women. In fact, female population of the city was 10 times as much as male population.

There have survived about 200 buildings in Machu-Picchu, among which there are even two-storey constructions. You can find there almost no residential buildings, but there are many temples and utility structures. The most famous Temple of Three Windows is on the Sacred Square or Plaza.

Many researchers wrote treatises on mason technologies of Machu-Picchu. They built houses without mortar and carefully squared stones were fitted as tightly that you could see almost no seams.

If you are strong enough, from the Sacred Square you can climb a long stair going along the side of the cliff up to the Sun Stone or Intihuatana (in the language of the Quechua it meant the «place, to which the sun is tied»). Most likely, that was a kind of astronomic observatory where various calculations were done.

Above Machu-Picchu (Old Mountain) there located the fortress of Wiley Picchu (New Mountain). If you have enough strength for the ascension, you should do it only to see the stunning views of neighboring mountains. The famous Moon Temple is just at Wiley Picchu but only women are admitted there.

Taking into account tourist attractiveness of Machu-Picchu, you can get there by many quite different ways. Traditionally, you can take a train in Cusco and then go by a bus. For more well-to-do tourists there is an opportunity of air flight with a landing in the valley of Urubamba and further bus journey, but in any case, you'll have to climb the mountain on foot and it would be a fairly long stretch of your way.

There is a wonderful trekking route for trained tourists. It is the Sacred Path of the Inkas going from Cusco to Machu-Picchu. You can try and do it. Although Machu-Picchu is only 120 kilometers of Cusco, the ancient capital of Peru, travel time is 4 days. At first you go by train on the mountain serpentine, then, at the 88 kilometer, there starts the path of Inkas. There the groups of tourists meet with carriers, guides and cooks and after some preparations set out along the exceptionally scenic mountain route. You should remember that the path goes over difficult highland regions (the altitude of certain passes is 4500 m), so take care of so-called altitude sickness also known as acute mountain sickness (AMS). Upon arrival in Cusco (3400 m) you must get accustomed to such altitude.

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