America

Excursion to Machu Picchu

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«These snowy peaks in an unknown and unexplored part of Peru fascinate me greatly. They tempt me to go and see what's beyond.

Hiram Bingham.

Those peaks, which were not snowed that day, welcomed us with their magnificence at five in the morning. Despite being so early, we were not the first in the long line of those who waited for the turn to get on the buses that would take us to the top of the Macchu Picchu. Dawn rose between those huge peaks covered by a thick fog that, if possible, made them even more mysterious. As a counterpoint to this mystery, the children of street vendors who offered all the material and food to the hundreds of tourists who waited patiently for buses to get into operation were heard everywhere.

At half past five o'clock, the first of the buses was launched, we entered the third. On the road that zigzagged up the mountain, we were overtaking the exhausted visitors who had decided to walk up, probably without knowing that once in the archeological zone they expected even more physical exercise.

It is not known for sure what the function of the city of Machu Picchu was or why it was abandoned and forgotten in time until the American explorer Hiram Bingham he "discovered" it by chance. Mr. Bingham came from a rich family come down. He grew up in Hawaii and studied, among others, at Yale University, where he ended up being a professor. It is during that stage when, thanks to the help of some of his wealthier students, he embarked on a new expedition to Peru, which the faculty did not want to sponsor, to try to locate Victos, the city where some of the last Incas retired after the Spanish conquest. The expedition was a success: Hiran Bingham not only found Victos, but also Machu Picchu.

Melchor Arteaga, a farmer in the area, explained to Bingham that there were ruins near the explorer's camp. Thought that perhaps this knowledge was based on legends and rumors, the next day Bingham accompanied Melchor with few expectations, but when he arrived, he ran into the exceptional Inca city. Although the locals already knew her and some even grew up there, none of them were aware of their importance. That is why it is said that Hiram Bingham was the "scientific discoverer" of Machu Picchu.

At the entrance door to the Machu Picchu compound there was a lot of expectation among the visitors who were getting off the buses. There passport in hand were entering in a hurry to be the first, while they were raffling the guides that offered their services. We were approached by Nérida, who told us that for 150 soles he made a complete guided tour of the ruins. We wanted to know a little more about the history of the place, but the price was a bit expensive, so in the end we agreed that I would look for other customers to share the visit. Luckily, we met Fernando, a Spanish photographer with whom we shared the visit to the ruins.

To start we climb to the Funeral Rock Guardian's cabin, which is the point where the most emblematic photo of Machu Picchu is taken. However, at that time of the morning the entire archeological zone was covered by a veil of dense fog and hardly anything was visible. I have to admit that I took a big disappointment, because if the thing went on like that, more than seeing Machu Picchu we would have to intuit it, and I didn't like the idea at all. Nérida noticed my concern, because surely I should have the word "disappointment" tattooed on my forehead, and he assured me that at ten o'clock in the morning the fog would rise.

Then we visit the ceremonial baths, the temple of the sun, the royal tomb, the sacred square, the temple of the three windows, the main temple, the house of the supreme priest, the "sacristy", the Intihuatana, which is the largest sanctuary of the archaeological zone, the Intipunku and the central square, where there were two llamas playing lawnmowers.

He Sun Temple, of semicircular plant, it is considered the most important solar observatory of Machu Picchu. It has two windows that measure the winter solstice and served to perform ceremonies to the king star as animal sacrifices to predict the future. Under the temple of the sun there is a cave that Bingham baptized as the royal tomb and where it is said that the mummy of an Inca was found, which was considered the son of the sun.

In the central part of the front wall of the temple of the three windows there is a carved stone with three steps that represents the cross chacana Typical Inca. This symbol represents the universe as the Incas saw it, consisting of three planes: the Hanan Pacha (the celestial world), the Kai Pacha (the underworld) and the Uku Pacha (the underworld).

The Intihuatana It is a carved rock that fixes the spring equinox, when the sun casts no shadow on the rock at noon. This seems to indicate that it served as a solar observatory.

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