Machu Picchu & the Inca Trail

The ruins of Machu Picchu, rediscovered in 1911 by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham, are one of the most beautiful and enigmatic ancient sites in the world. While the Inca people certainly used the Andean mountain top (7972 feet elevation), erecting many hundreds of stone structures from the early 1400's, legends and myths indicate that Machu Picchu (meaning 'Old Peak' in the Quechua language) was revered as a sacred place from a far earlier time. Whatever its origins, the Inca turned the site into a small (5 square miles) but extraordinary city. Invisible from below and completely self-contained, surrounded by agricultural terraces sufficient to feed the population, and watered by natural springs, Machu Picchu seems to have been utilized by the Inca as a secret ceremonial city. Two thousand feet above the rumbling Urubamba river, the cloud shrouded ruins have palaces, baths, temples, storage rooms and some 150 houses, all in a remarkable state of preservation.

These structures, carved from the gray granite of the mountain top are wonders of both architectural and aesthetic genius. Many of the building blocks weigh 50 tons or more yet are so precisely sculpted and fitted together with such exactitude that the mortarless joints will not permit the insertion of even a thin knife blade. Little is known of the social or religious use of the site during Inca times. The skeletal remains of ten females to one male had led to the casual assumption that the site may have been a sanctuary for the training of priestesses and /or brides for the Inca nobility. However, subsequent osteological examination of the bones revealed an equal number of male bones, thereby indicating that Machu Picchu was not exclusively a temple or dwelling place of women.

One of Machu Picchu's primary functions was that of astronomical observatory. The Intihuatana stone (meaning 'Hitching Post of the Sun') has been shown to be a precise indicator of the date of the two equinoxes and other significant celestial periods. The Intihuatana (also called the Saywa or Sukhanka stone) is designed to hitch the sun at the two equinoxes, not at the solstice (as is stated in some tourist literature and new-age books). At midday on March 21st and September 21st, the sun stands almost directly above the pillar, creating no shadow at all. At this precise moment the sun "sits with all his might upon the pillar" and is for a moment "tied" to the rock. At these periods, the Incas held ceremonies at the stone in which they "tied the sun" to halt its northward movement in the sky. There is also an Intihuatana alignment with the December solstice (the summer solstice of the southern hemisphere), when at sunset the sun sinks behind Pumasillo (the Puma's claw), the most sacred mountain of the western Vilcabamba range, but the shrine itself is primarily equinoctial.

Shamanic legends tell that when a sensitive person touches their forehead to the Intihuatana stone it opens their vision to the spirit world. Intihuatana stones were the supremely sacred objects of the Inca people and were systematically searched for and destroyed by the Spaniards. When the Intihuatana stone was broken at an Inca shrine, the Inca believed that the deities of the place died or departed. The Spaniards never found Machu Picchu, even though they suspected its existence, thus the Intihuatana stone and its resident spirits remain in their original position. The mountain top sanctuary fell into disuse and was abandoned some forty years after the Spanish took Cuzco in 1533. Supply lines linking the many Inca social centers were disrupted and the great empire came to an end. The photograph shows the ruins of Machu Picchu in the foreground with the sacred peak of Wayna Picchu towering behind. Partway down the northern side of Wayna Picchu is the so-called "Temple of the Moon" inside a cavern. As with the ruins of Machu Picchu, there is no archaeological or iconographical evidence to substantiate the "new-age" assumption that this cave was a goddess site.
Although Hiram Bingham was the first person to bring word of the ruins to the outside world in 1911, other outsiders were said to have seen Machu Picchu before him. The site may have been discovered in 1867 by a German businessman, Augusto Berns, and there is some evidence that another German, J. M. von Hassel, arrived even earlier. Maps found by historians show references to Machu Picchu as early as 1874. In 1904, an engineer named Franklin supposedly spotted the ruins from a distant mountain.

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FD Tour Machu Picchu & Vistadome train

The day starts with an early morning rise to transfer to Cusco Train Station for a three hour train journey to the famous Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu, also known as "The Lost City of the Incas", one of the best known examples of surviving Inca architecture. Arrive at Aguas Calientes Station followed by a 30-minute bus drive, climbing 6km of windin..

$405.00

5 Countries Carnival Group 2019

Brazil-Argentina- Chile – Bolivia- Peru08.03.2019 - 23.03.2019Group tour 16 days /15 nights Rio de Janeiro is Brazil’s “Marvellous City”, and with good reason. The natural beauty of this incredible place almost defies belief, from the deep sapphire water, to the golden sands of Copacabana, to the vast mountain range surrounding it.But tha..

$6,521.25

Discover Choquequirao 2019

8D/7N: Lima, Cusco and Choquequirao The sun brightens everything. We are walking to Choquequirao, the lost city, we look up and there it is. The mystery kept in its buried walls is there for us to unveil. Data Departures: daily. Minimum: 4 passengers. Operating season: from March to December. Service: sh..

$1,666.25

Discover Peru 2019

10D/9N: Lima, Arequipa, Colca, Puno, Titicaca Lake, Cusco and Machu Picchu In Peru’s South we will find a city with peculiar architecture and one color in common: white; a majestic bird overflying the deepest canyon in the world; a huge, navigable and still mysterious lake; a city in the clouds. Let’s find out what Arequipa, Colca Canyon, L..

$1,881.25

Esoteric and Mystical Cusco 2019

8D/7N: Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu Cusco still maintains its old Inca tradition, and leaves the door open to every tourist who wants to discover it. Cusco gives us the opportunity to have a close relationship with the mystical Andean tradition sharing its rituals and even being part of them for the first time.   &nbs..

$1,560.00

Hiram Bingham to Machu Picchu 2019

7D/6N: Lima, Cusco and Machu Picchu It will be a trip to pamper all your senses and fulfill your dreams as you visit one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Data Departures: daily. Minimum: 1 passenger. Operating season: all year. Service: private tour at the exception of the Hiram Bingham train excursio..

$2,366.25

Inca Empire 2019

8D/7N: Lima, Cusco, Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu The Inca Empire right at our feet. Visit the most representative and astonishing sites of each place we visit. A memorable selection of the main attractions offered by Cusco and Lima.  Data Departures: daily. Minimum: 1 passenger. Operating season: all..

$1,362.50

New Year Amazing All Peru 2019

Lima-Cusco-Puno-Colca Arequipa- Nazka(optional) - Lima12 days  /11 nights Group New Year Tour with the date of arrival  28.12The price of the program  for 1 pax with ESG ( min.2 pax)     Hotels 3* tourist class   TWB DWB SWB Hotels mentioned in th..

$3,056.25