| Machu Picchu|
“Old Peak” is the name the Inca inhabitants called the mountain-top citadel in the Andes that the conquering Spanish never found.
It was discovered by an American professor from Yale University in April 1911. Built circa 1400, it remained in use until just before the Spanish came in 1532.
Climbing through the ‘ruins’ to-day, I was filled with a sense of awe and ’utter amazement’. Almost everything, 600 years later, was still intact except the original thatched roofs and the wooden structures that held them in place.
How could any people in 1400 A.D. build a city on top of a mountain in the Andes, without horses, with no heavy equipment, not using the technical advantages of ‘the Wheel’, with no written language to record information, with huge stones carved from the mountain built into walls with such exact skill that even to-day you cant fit the edge of a Visa card between the stones. (I tried and failed.) All this, while trying to administer an Empire that was larger than Rome ever was. Machu Picchu was totally self-sufficient. The fresh water aquaducts and drainage systems are ‘works of engineering art’. The terraces provided the soil to grow the food needed. Llamas and alpacas provided wool for clothing and milk. Weaving and pottery were other crafts necessary for this ‘distinct culture’.The ‘skills’of the ‘weavers’ rivalled that of the legendary ‘Spider Women’ of the Navajos in North America.
Apart from ‘a sense of awe’ that Machu Picchu gave me, I suppose the most apparent sensation was that of ‘Vertigo’. The vertical pathways are stone steps, carved from the granite of the mountain, in some cases 150 steps in a series, with no railings and the ‘series’ just keep coming at you. Many of the tourists used two canes . Some were on crutches and some with clubbed feet. I quickly forgot about myself and my ‘arthritic knee’. It is truly ‘the most Sacred Place’ I have visited in my lifetime. Just wish I had gone there in my ‘twenties’ because Machu Picchu is “not for Sissies” or “Old Guys” like me. Very happy and relieved to make it up and back. It’s ‘One for the Ages’, one you shouldn’t miss!
For everyone, some things in life are ‘forever’. For me this is one.’
Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and an UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. In 2007 it was voted one of The New Seven Wonders of the World by a world-wide Internet Poll. It was built in the classic Inca style with precise polished stone walls and terraces for agricultural use. 2011 is the 100th anniversary of its discovery.