Peru trip - Part 2
Oops, I forgot to include the link to the photos for Machi Picchu, the most important part of the blog!!!
Photos from Machi Picchu and the Inka trail can be found here: http://www.kodakgallery.com/Slideshow.jsp?mode=fromshare&Uc=2cqjy4v.2ve74jin&Uy=oajx0u&Ux=0
After leaving Machi Picchu and Aguas Calientes we caught the train back to Ollaytantambo, which is partway along the train line from Cusco to Aguas Calientes. For some reason it's actually quicker to catch a bus or car between Ollaytantambo and Cusco… There's a great archeological site there as well (photos were in the first set), and this is where the Incas first defeated the Spanish. The site has the standard terraces (oh, I forgot to mention that in Machi Picchu there were enough terraces to grow crops for 800-1000 people, not bad for a city at the top of a mountain) but they are much larger and deeper than those at Machi Picchu. Each terrace is fully irrigated and the irrigation still functions. At the top left of the site are the temples, including a sun temple that catches the first rays of the winter solstice sun (21 June) to allow the Incas to manage the change of seasons and their crop planting and harvesting. The stones for the sun temple came from another mountain across the valley, and some weigh more than 100 tons. It's believed that the people had to redirect the river in the valley in between around the stones as they were transported to the site.
Apart from the obvious asthetics of the terraces, the stone work and the overall appearance of the sites, together with the technical innovation and careful geometry, each of the Inca sites also fits in with their religion. Ollaytantambo is laid out in the shape of a llama, with the terraces forming the body, the sun temple area forming the head, and the store rooms at the other end forming the tail. Similarly Cusco was laid out in the form of a panther. Truly remarkable town planning!
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