The Incas: Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Inca Trail

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Geometry from the Land of the Incas

 

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Machu Picchu,  interactive view from the North-West at San Miguel Mountain:

  • Machu Picchu Sanctuary, Altitude: 7,711 feet. View from the North-West at San Miguel Mountain.

  • Huayna Picchu Mountain. Altitude: 8860 feet.
    (Quechua: "Young Peak") is a mountain around which the Urubamba River bends. It towers over the Machu Picchu and divides it into sections. The Incas built a trail up the side of the Huayna Picchu and built temples and terraces on its top. The Temple of the Moon is located on the mountain.

  • Urubamba River
    A partially navigable headwater of the Amazon River, it rises in the Andes to the south-east of Cuzco and flows for 724 kilometers before coalescing with the lower Apurimac River to form the Ucayali River. A number of ruins of the Inca Empire lie in the valley, including the Incan city of Machu Picchu.

  • San Miguel Mountain. Altitude: 9,593 feet.
    A place to worship sacred geographical features in combination with equinox alignment.

  • Inca Bridge

  • Inca Trail: Intipunku, the Gateway of the Sun, 8068 feet, is located high above the city of Machu Picchu. A path leads down from Intipunku towards the city, giving some impressive views over the ruins.

  • Machu Picchu Mountain. Altitude 10,040 feet.

  • Inca Trail: Phuyupatamarca. Cloud Level Town, Altitude: 11,975 feet.

  • Salkantay Mountain, Altitude: 20,574 feet. Salkantay means 'Savage Mountain' which may refer to the swirling clouds that rise up from the jungle lowlands and engulf the peak.

  • Aguas Calientes & Urubamba River. Altitude: 6,560 feet
    Aguas Calientes is connected to Machu Picchu by an unpaved road. Buses run frequently between Aguas Calientes and Machu Picchu. The journey takes about 20 minutes and costs US$6 each way. Putucusi, a mountain opposite the river from the ruins, is a popular hike and provides excellent views.

  • To Cuzco. Altitude: 11,500 feet.
    The distance from Cuzco to the Machu Picchu area is about 75 miles and the train ride took between 3 and 4 hours. It was slow and stopped often, being a local train. On the steeper slopes, the rail line was constructed with zig-zags where the train pulled forward up the zig, then backed up the zag and repeated this to get up the slope. Past Ollantaytambo there is no road, only the rail line into the mountains. So about the last 30 miles into Aguas Caliente are along the river on the only access route other than a foot trail.

 

Hiram Bingham. The American explorer who found the ruins of Machu Picchu in 1911.


Hiram Bingham at Machu Picchu
The inspiration for Indiana Jones?