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... am was Cristobal de Molina. Molina, a young priest, chronicled a sun festival (celebrated during the months of June and December) during the first few months after the Spanish occupation of Cuzco... the Inca opened the sacrifices and they lasted for eight days.
Thanks were given to the sun for the past harvest and prayers were made for the crops to come... they brought all the effigies of the shrines of Cuzco onto a plain at the edge of the city in the direction of the suns rise at daybreak. [The effigies were housed under magnificent feather work awnings, arranged in an avenue, and attended by the lords of Cuzco], all magnificently robed [in] rich silver cloaks and tunics, with brightly shining circlets and medallions of fine gold on their heads... As soon as the sunrise began they started to chant in splendid harmony and unison. While chanting each of them shook his foot, ... and as the sun continued to rise they chanted higher. [The Inca presided form a rich throne, and it was he who opened the chanting. ] They all stayed there, chanting, from the time the sun rose until it had completely set. As the sun was rising toward noon they continued to raise their voices, and from noon onward they lowered them, keeping careful track of the suns course.
Throughout this time, great offerings were being made. On a platform on which there was a tree, there were Indians doing nothing but throwing meats into a great fire and burning them up in it. At another place the Inca ordered [llama] ewes to be thrown for the poorer common Indians to grab, and this caused great sport. At eight oclock over two hundred girls came out of Cuzco, each with a large new pot of...
china that was plastered and covered. The girls came in groups of five, full of precision and order, and pausing at intervals. They also offered to the sun many bales of a herb that the Indians chew and call coca, whose leaf is like myrtle. There were many other ceremonies and sacrifices.
Suffice it to say that when the sun was about to set in the evening the Indians showed great sadness at its departure, in their chants and expressions. they allowed their voices to die away on purpose. And as the sun was sinking completely and disappearing from sight they made a great act of reverence, rising their hands and worshipping it in the deepest humility. It is very possible that this type of ceremonies observed by Pm, Molina, and Vega were performed in the Sacred Plaza of Machu Picchu and around the inti-havana. On west side of the inti-havana is a sharp dropping hill to a river.
This may have been used to throw offerings. Also, and probably by no accident, the setting sun shines its rays on the snow capped slopes of the distant Vilcabamba mountains. Water and Agriculture at Machu Picchu A site so secluded in the Andean Mountains needed the bare essentials for the survival of its inhabitants. By studying the remaining buildings at Machu Picchu, it is estimated to have had a population of up to 1, 000 people with a permanent population of about 300. Water is a basic element for the survival of man; so how did the habitant's of Machu Picchu obtain their water? Could it have come from the Urubamba River located 450 meters down precipitous slopes?
The water supplied to Machu Picchu actually came from natural springs located on the north slope of the mountain. Two springs supplied the water. The primary spring was enhanced by a well-engineered stone collection system for the water. The spring is located at an elevation of 2, 458 m on the north slope of the mountain of Machu Picchu. The secondary spring is found 80 m west of the primary spring area. The water from the springs flowed in a channel on a terrace toward the city.
Under the flow of gravity, the water traveled down the smooth stone bottom and vertical stone sided canal. The canal averages about 12 cm in height and 14 cm in width. The channel enters under the outer city wall and then on a terrace through the Agricultural Sector. It passes over the Dry Moat on a stone aqueduct and through a wall that separates the Agricultural Sector form the Urban Sector.
The water is then supplied to a fountain. This fountain was the Inca rulers private water supply because it is located immediately near the main doorway of the Inca rulers residence. From this first fountain, the water flows threw a series of 15 additional fountains in the center of the urban area. These fountains were the perfect solution for dispensing the water to the people. The Inca used their surroundings well... the Inca were good hydro geologists and knew how to put ground water to good use.
The water was not the only element the Inca made good use of -- the land was also used wisely. To grow agricultural produce for a city built on a mountain where flat land is rare; they terraced the mountain side. The magnificent terraced mountain sides were the first thing Hiram Bingham saw when he caught his first glimpse of Machu Picchu. But just around a promontory he came upon his first thrilling sight: a magnificent flight of stone terraces, a hundred of them, climbing for almost a thousand feet up the hillside. The terraces were made of fieldstone set in clay. Undulating to fit the mountainside, the terraces were designed to be worked on by hand and used to grow mostly coca leaf, potatoes, a root called oca, and a grain called quinoa.
The builders of Machu Picchu made the greatest possible use of its awkward site, terracing the slope between the defensive walls to the south and terracing the mountainside below the city on the east. Even the flat plazas that divide the inner city could have been used for agricultural purpose, growing coca or other tropical luxuries for the imperial court in Cuzco. The crops at Machu Picchu feasibly were not supplied with water from the two springs. Rainfall on the basin in ancient times is estimated to have averaged about 1, 830 mm from 1450 AD to 1500 AD and about 2, 090 mm during the 1500 AD to 1540 AD. According to Wright, Witt, and Valencia, the annual rainfall at Machu Picchu was sufficient to support the agricultural crops. Today Machu Picchu is a historic sanctuary.
Its status was established on January 8, 1981, under Law (Supreme Resolution) DS 001 - 81 -AA. The sites is about 1, 400 km south of the Equator on the eastern slope of the Peruvian Andes and is located at Longitude 72 degrees 32 feet and Latitude 13 degrees 9 feet. The dramatic site attracts visitors from around the world. In the mid 1980 s, some 180, 000 people annually visited the Inca Trail and the ruins.
More recently, the figure has risen to 300, 000, including 7, 000 on the Inca trails. Visitors usually reach Machu Picchu by a three hour train ride from Cuzco or by a three to five day hike to the site over the popular ancient Inca road -- the Inca Trail. The Inca Trail crosses ecological zones ranging from alpine to jungle, and more than 120 plant species per square kilometer have been identified within the park. A partial wildflower list numbers lupines, slipperworts, daisies, cacti, lilies, fuchsias, begonias, geraniums, irises, loss, gentians, buttercups and many varieties of orchids. Hikers can watch condors soar off the peaks and hummingbirds feed on flowers in the jungle. Other fauna include deer, vizcacha's (a small rodent like animal related to the chinchilla) and the rare Andean spectacled bear...
The Machu Picchu sanctuary has faced problems in the past trying to conserve the site. Before services were placed along the trail, many hikers littered the trail with empty soda drink containers and other trash. According to Alfredo Ferreyros, initiator of the Inca Trail Project a conservation group, We feel that it is important to inform hikers of what they can and cannot do. Once we achieve this, 50 percent of the battle is won.
The visitors and hikers dont limit their destruction just to the trail, the ruins themselves are also put at risk... restoration and excavation work is often halted just to repair damage caused by the visitors. People venturing off the paths erode the soil, tumble walls and damage other structures. in 1982 Yepez roped off the rock pillar known as the Intiwatana (Hitching Post of the Sun) to prevent tourists from climbing on it to have their pictures taken. Visitors have even tried to carve their initials in the rocks and to chip off parts of the stones for souvenirs. Although food is prohibited in the ruins (there is an excellent restaurant and snack bar just outside the gates), it isnt unusual to find soft drink cans and garbage left in the trapezoidal Inca niches or tossed on the ground.
Many volunteers have come forward to clean up the problems of pollution. Some of the groups include: South American Explorers Club, Peruvian Andean Club, and Explorandes. As one of Peru's main tourist attractions as well as an important archeological site, Machu Picchu will continue to attract visitors. Once a royal estate and religious retreat for Pachacuti Inca in the 1400 s, it was never discovered by the Spanish conquistadors and was lost for centuries.
Its re-discovery to the world in 1911 by Hiram Bingham has lured scientists and tourist alike to explore the Inca ruins. The visitors to Machu Picchu are inspired by the magnificent setting and the stonework that blends harmoniously into the landscape. They view and investigate the terraces that once sustained the citizens of Machu Picchu. They view the agricultural sector, the inti-havana in the Sacred Plaza, the urban center, the residential sector, the cemetery, and the many other spectacular stone structures. Fortunately, Machu Picchu is continually being restored and maintained so that many more people may enjoy its wonder and beauty.
Bibliography: BIBLIOGRAPHY Bingham, Alfred M. Raiders of the Lost City. American Heritage, July/August 1987, pp. 54 - 64. Hemming, John. Machu Picchu (Wonders of Man). New York: Newsweek, 1981.
Hemming, John, and Range, Edward. Monuments of the Incas. Boston: Little, Brown and Company, 1982. Natural World Heritage Properties. Descriptions of Natural World Heritage Properties, Available World Wide Web: URL: web areas / data /wh / machu . html.
pp. 1 - 5. (Attached) Mesh, Lynn Ann. Protecting Heavens Gate. Americas, July/August 1984, pp. 26 - 31. Richardson III, James B. People of the Andes. Canada: St.
Remy Press and Smithsonian Institution, 1994. Wright, Kenneth R. , Witt, Gary D. , and Valencia Zegarra, Alfredo. Hydrogeology and Paleohydrology of Ancient Machu Picchu. Ground Water, July-August 1997, pp. 1 - 6.
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