Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu the former highland capital of the Inca empire, The significance of Machu Picchu among late Inca towns therefore remains elusive. What is beyond doubt is that the town contains some of the finest and best-preserved examples of Inca building craftsmanship and that it is located in one of the most beautiful settings in the world. The great Inca civilization followed on from a long succession of different cultures for human settlements in Peru are known to go back to 3000 B.C. The great Chavin culture had flourished in the inland area north of Lima from a thousand years, there followed the brick temples and skilled gold casting of he Mochica culture in northern Peru, while the people of the Ica-Nazca culture were drawing their gigantic designs- the Nazca lines- in the coastal desert to the south.

According to their own legends, the Incas originated on an island in Lake Titicaca, where the Sun God created their first ruler, Manco Capac. The title of every ruler was the Inca Son of the sun God. Manco Capac led his people north along the Andes in about A.D.1000, founded the city of Cuzco and settled the land around it. The indigenous language of the Cuzco area was Quechua and the Incas spread it so effectively wherever they conquered that it still remains the dominant tongue among the Andean Indians

The Inca road network spread and still largely survives, from modern Colombia to Argentina and central Chile. Along the coast, the main north-south road covered 4000 kilometers (2500 miles) mostly across rather flat an d arid desert. Dried mud was the only surface it needed, for the Andes draw the rain from the coastal strip, but the track had walls on both sides to keep off the drifting desert sands.

The other key highway, the royal road of the Andes, is even more impressive. Even today it runs the length of what was once the Inca dominated section of the vast mountain range for more than 4800 kilometers through some of the most difficult terrain on earth- from central Chile, through Peru and on to north of Quito in Ecuador. The Andean road is carefully built, with a drainage system, and is stone paved on those sections where water sometimes flowed across the track. Between the coast and the mountain high ways many roads 160-320 kilometers long, completed the network.

At the core of Inca religion was the creator-god Viracocha. He had many titles and although he lived in the heavens, was believed to become visible at times of crisis. At the beginning of time, Viracocha created a dark Earth. Then he made a series of supernatural objects which themselves became deities-he lit the world be making the divine Sun and Moon rise out of an island on Lake Titicaca, formed the great Ocean and other things, then made mankind like himself and animals in many forms. Viracocha's great journey carrying his mighty staff, which follows in the myth, was marked by many incidents celebrated in Inca ceremonies and monuments, and after that he walked away across the Pacific.

The llama was the chief carrier of goods along the Inca highways it could be eaten and it yielded good warm wool. a remote member of the camel family, the llama can carry a load of about 91 kilograms for only 16 kilometers a day, at any Andean alttitude.

Wandering down the stairways connecting the stepped housing terraces of Machu Picchu, one can imagine them thronged with Inca peasants hurrying to the fields at daybreak. The people were, and are, quite short and broad, with huge chests and lungs. Their skin is a light brown, their heads rounded, with slanting eyes and a looked nose in a wide face. Most of the women are muscular and share the men's ability to work or trot for long hours at high altitudes.



Discipline was rigid in Inca society from cradle to grave. At the age of 14, boy put on his loincloth, and with it his manhood, with much ceremony. At 20 he was expected to marry. If he had no bride in mind, the clan council selected one for him and the couple were expected to star breeding as quickly and prolifically as possible. Among the young, unmarried sexuality was condoned as long as the young man gave help by working for the girl's father. After marriage, the peasants were expected to be monogamous. Ten of these foremen would come under a supervisor who was responsible to the clan chief elected by the council of elders.

The royal messengers , their relays provided the quickest method of carrying detailed information before the invention of mechanized transport. Each highway had a hut every 2.5 kilometers along its extent, each hut being occupied by two trained runners from nearby villages. These men kept alternate watch for any approaching runner, working on a rota of 24 hours. When a messenger arrived, he passed on a verbal message and a quipu or knotted rope.

Chichen Itza


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