Machu Picchu

I wonder how Machu Picchu was built. It is one of the most radical places I have ever seen. I cannot comprehend the amount of work that must have gone into its development.

I got to the base of Machu Picchu three hours before daylight so I could be one of the first hundred lucky ones to get in line to climb Huayna Picchu (the peak behind Machu Picchu). I wanted to be one of the very few who got to watch the sunrise over the mountains and the Machu Picchu ruins below. The experience was unforgettable.

Amongst the ruins there are various secret hideouts, temples, bridges, and escape routes built into the Valley of the Incas. Archaeologist say that many secrets are still undiscovered.

It is so hard to imagine how the Incas even got to the peak of the mountain, let alone build a stone compound on top of it.

There are three steep mountains that surround Machu Picchu that create a river valley. One of the mountains was carved out to resemble an condor. Another mountain was carved out to resemble a snake, and a third mountain was carved out to resemble a puma. Those are the three sacred Inca animals. The entire mountains were carved out!

The mountains are overgrown with lush vegetation now, so it’s tough to make out the perfect definition of the animals carved into them, but when studied closely they can be seen. It is too dangerous to cut the vegetation back to expose them today. Imagine what it must have been like cutting the mountain face back in AD 1400, when they began building the site.

Many hundreds of lives must have been lost building Machu Picchu. A bridge that runs across the sheer mountain face is one of the sketchiest things I have ever seen, and I can’t imagine crossing it, let alone building it. In a couple of the photos above, you can just barely make out the bridge/trail by the vegetation line across the cliff face. The bridge is made out of stones stacked on top of each other on a ledge cut into the cliff. This trail was a secret back-door exit into an entirely different valley that the Incas must have built to hunt, travel, or escape from the Spanish. It is less than a foot wide!

I was dumbfounded by Machu Picchu. The whole experience was incredible and made me feel very insignificant.

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