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Machu Picchu - A Special Getaway



Hiram Bingham, a Yale archeologist, rediscovered Machu Picchu in 1911, opening up a world of wonders. Machu Picchu means old peak or mountain in Quechua language. The center is located on the ridge of the Andean mountains in Peru. Many archeologists believe that it was originally meant as an estate for Pachacuti, an Inca emperor. It is thought that the Inca community began the erection of the estate at the start of the 1400s. However, some legends state that the place already had sacred significance long before this.

Whatever its origins, Machu Picchu is a unique city. The city was surrounded by agricultural terraces that provided enough food to sustain its population, making it completely self sufficient.

The city is composed of about 150 houses, storage rooms, temples, palaces and baths, all of which have been preserved remarkably well. The way the buildings were constructed is a great mark of architectural feat, as they were carved out of the gray granite covering the mountain top. It is difficult to imagine how the builders accomplished the work. Some of the blocks used weigh more than 50 tons but they have been carved and fitted together with great precision, even though no mortar was used; you cannot even insert a knife between the the joints!

It seems that the Machu Picchu was used as an important astronomical observatory. The Intihuatana stone seems to give accurate indications of the dates of various important celestial periods, including the two equinoxes. The name of the stone means "Hitching Post of the Sun". The sun stands directly above the pillar on both March 21st and September 21st at midday. During these times, the pillar leaves almost no shadow. The Incas conducted special ceremonies during these times.

One of the things that make Machu Picchu special is the absence of accurate history. As you look at the great works of architecture, you can let your imagination run wild. You cannot help but feel a great sense of awe when you visit Machu Picchu.

When you want to travel to Machu Picchu, there are different methods you can use. One of the most memorable ways is to trek along the Inca trail, which joins this city and Cusco. The Inca trail is about 40 kilometers long. There are different points from where you can begin your journey. During the pre-Hispanic era, the trail started from Llaqtapata. You will find ancient terraces here. You will start your trek just by the river and slowly work your way along Cusichaca valley.

It will take three days to reach Machu Picchu. During the time, you will have the chance to see Inca architecture and great natural scenes.

Otherwise, you can use such methods as train or helicopter. Whichever method you use to travel to Machu Picchu, you are sure to get an experience that you will never forget.



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