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::: CuscoWeb.com Cusco Info Machu Picchu Info
As soon as they were told about the happenings, the Spaniards blamed and sued Atawallpa and imposed the death sentence upon him. After having murdered Atawallpa, they went towards Qosqo, where they were...
welcomed believing that they were avengers of the Inkan Capital because they had murdered its enemy. Moreover, they were considered as gods because they were so different, had white skin, beard, fire weapons, horses; and even, Quechuas believed that horse and Spaniard were a single being, able to split into two. Besides, it was also believed that they were divinities because there was an old myth that stated that the Inkas' gods had to arrive by ship, exactly how Spaniards did. Because of all those reasons they were accepted and welcomed in the Quechuas' Capital. Its inhabitants made them know everything they had, their palaces, temples, towns and cities; but, by that time no one said anything about Machupicchu because it seems that it was a very special and secret city or otherwise it was already lost and forgotten. The archaeological evidences state a total Spanish absence, there are no influences in pottery or architecture, and the "idolatry extirpators" (Catholic priests) did not destroy its temples as it happened in every spot known by Spaniards; thus it is supposed that Spaniards did not arrive and perhaps did not know anything about Machupicchu.
Because of its location strategically established for its protection, because of its number of temples and their architectonic quality, because of the small amount of "kanchas" (apartments for extended families), and because of the several characteristics that Machupicchu presents: originally, it was a regional power center dependent from Qosqo. That is, it was a small religious and political capital. Surely, it served as a dwelling for the Inka or any high ranked dignitary from the Capital, as well as for a selected nobility that had the privilege of having an "Aqllawasi" that was something like a monastery for "Chosen Women" or "Virgins of the Sun" devoted to cult and for service of its privileged population too. Most modern archaeologists and historians state that Machupicchu was made built and used by Inka Pachakuteq, who was the Tawantinsuyo's greatest statesman and ruled from 1438 to 1471, as his "Royal Farmstead". Scholars use for this assertion the chronological dating given by the carbon 14 or radiocarbon, its doubtless "Imperial Inka" architectonic style, the predominant ceramic pieces, and some other scientifically valid facts. Even more, the archaeological evidences discard totally any possibility of pre-Inkan settlements in this region.
According to the buildings that are found in the Inkan City, the population during its apogee is calculated to have been about 1000 people. According to the mummies found by the Bingham expedition about 80% of the Machupicchu population were women; that is the strong support to assert that over here existed an important "Aqllawasi" (House of Chosen Women), chosen among the prettiest and most virtuous, they were considered as the Sun's wives. Many modern scholars suggest that a large part of them were the Inka's wives too, considering that he was the son of the Sun; therefore, a living god. Thus the Inka lived in his property, along with his wives. It was normal for the Inka to have hundreds of concubines, and for example, our history states that Wayna Qhapaq who was father of Waskar and Atawallpa had more than 400 children. Nevertheless, his main wife must have been a sister of his; only that way they could keep the "solar blood" that they supposedly had. The throne heir had to be a son of the Inka and his sister.
Today, the reasons that led to depopulation of the Inkan City are unknown; although, some hypothetical reasons that are in a logical frame are outlined. It is believed that once there was a very bad epidemic that led to the abandonment of the city built in a humid zone with an abundance of different insects. Even until the first decades of this century different epidemics were reported frequently in this area, especially malaria; today several chemical products are being used in order to fumigate the environment, so the sanitation conditions were modified. Another possibility suggests that it had to be abandoned and closed after the death of the sovereign who built and used the city. Another hypothetical reason indicates that once the Antis (name of the "Andes" mountains comes from "Antis" = jungle tribes living in the Amazonian Forest), the worst enemies of the Inkas, arrived to this spot where they carried out a huge slaughter; the city was abandoned afterwards. What is evident is that the Inkan City was closed, abandoned and forgotten even until the first years of the XXth century.
Today, in a simple way Machupicchu is divided in two main sectors: farming and urban. The Farming Sector is located just after entering from the tourist hotel; over here there are very broad artificial farming terraces; they are only some of all the ones existing in the region, as most of them are covered by thick vegetation. By the eastern end of the terraces there are five buildings that maybe served to house the farmers who cultivated this sector; those buildings are known as the " Farmers' Group" though Bingham called them "Outer Barracks". On the upper end of those terraces there is a small room having just 3 walls known as the " Watchman Post" constructed in a strategic place; from this point there is a broad view of the Urubamba canyon in two different directions. It is here, from where the Machupicchu classical pictures are taken. In the vicinity is the named "Funerary Rock" ; it is a loose boulder placed knowingly in that spot, carved as an altar with some steps and a ring. It is supposed to have served in order to carry out all the embalming process as well as for drying the mummies up. Nevertheless, it seems that this rock had also a certain relationship with solar observations.

In the winter solstice, the sunlight is projected exactly towards this rock from "Intipunku" (Sun Gate) which is compounded by the buildings towards the east, on the pass, by the end of the Inka trail that is seen surrounding the Machupicchu Mountain. Further south from the "Funerary Rock" is the largest building in Machupicchu; it is a "Kallanka" that has 8 access openings on its front wall and 2 on the side ones. Because of its location near the trails, its dimensions and morphology, that building must have been a sort of " Tambo" and served as lodge for a large number of persons. Some authors name this building as "Headquarters" and some others as "Workshops".
Passing from the farming sector to the urban one there is a great " Dry Moat" that served to protect it. Machupicchu was a very exclusive city and its population selected among the nobility, therefore, it had a very effective security and protective system.
Crossing the Dry Moat is the Urban Sector; even farther is the "Fountains Street" containing 16 Liturgical Fountains. In the Inkan Society the water was always considered as a special deity, therefore, there were normally fountains and reservoirs for its cult. The main fountain is located in front of a building having just three walls that in the Inkan Architecture is named "Wayrana" that is supposed to be a ceremonial center from where the "Willaq Uma" (High Priest) had to carry out diverse ceremonies in order to worship the water. Today, water does not flow through the channels any more simply because the tourist hotel is using it; originally the water was harnessed from a spring located behind the Machupicchu mountain; the channel came aside and along the Inka trail going towards Intipunku.
Nearby, is the "Sun Temple" that was a complex originally very well protected. In Inkan times only the priests and the Inka could use those temples; thus, they remained closed and protected. Common people had popular ceremonies in open areas or plazas like the one in Machupicchu or Qosqo. The entrance into the Sun Temple is through a magnificent double jamb doorway, that on its interior surface shows its security system with a stone ring over the lintel where the wooden door must have been hung, and the two stakes inside small carved boxes in the interior jambs where the door's crossing bar was tied. The temple itself was built over a huge "in-situ" boulder. It has a semicircular floor plan; its rear wall is straight and the whole temple is built with the "Imperial Inkan" architectonic type, that is, with rectangular faced stones with perfect joints. The semicircular wall has two windows; one of them faces towards the east and the other towards the north. According to modern scientists those two windows constitute the most important solar observatory in Machupicchu; in the window facing east it is possible to fix accurately the winter solstice measuring the shade projections on the central rock. Both windows have projecting carved fake beams surrounding their outside face; they surely served in order to support elements that made solar observations easier. In the center of the temple there is an "in-situ" carved rock altar that served to carry out diverse ceremonies honoring the Sun; it is over here where animal sacrifices were executed, so that analyzing their hearts, lungs and viscera, the priests could foretell the future. It is also here where the Inka had to symbolically drink "chicha" (maize beer) along with his father the Sun. The straight rear wall has a window with small carved holes on its threshold that tradition knows as the "Snake Window" (name given by Bingham). The holes are very similar to those found in the Temple of the Stars in Qosqo's Qorikancha that according to Garcilaso kept ornaments of precious metals and stones; possibly also over here those holes had the same duty. The straight walls of the temple have trapezoidal niches in their interior faces; they were used to keep different idols and offerings. Some authors indicate that originally this temple had a thatched conical roof, and they name it as "Suntur Wasi", "Military Tower", etc.
Under the "Sun Temple" there is an interesting small cave known as the " Royal Tomb"; it was named that by Bingham believing that it could shelter the mummy of a Cusquenian nobleman or possibly that of an Inka; but he wrote that nothing was found inside it. The relationship would be logical: the Inka buried under his father's temple. Without any doubt that small cave must have been related to the Ukju Pacha (underground world) and the cult of dead people. Inside the small cave, on the right side wall there are two large trapezoidal niches with projecting fake stone beams by the height of their lintels, and two smaller niches on the deeper wall. On the floor, there is a carving with a "stepping symbol" representing the three levels of the Andean Religious World. In the Inkan Society all the corpses were mummified in a fetal position with the only difference being that mummies of noblemen were kept in temples while those of common people were buried or placed in cemeteries. Inside the Sun Temple complex, there is also a two story construction known by some authors as the " Ñusta's Inclosure" (ñusta = princess) and as the Priest's by some others. Because of its location in the complex it must had a close relationship with the Temple and possibly it was the dwelling for the Willaq Uma (High Priest).
Crossing the street, in front of the Sun Temple is the " Royal Group". It is a classical "kancha" (an apartment for an extended family); it is the only one that is found in the area and the only one that is very solid and built with carved stones. There is no doubt that it was the Inka's dwelling. The group has two big rooms and two small "wayranas" around a central patio. The eastern room is known as the bedroom and inside it, its southern portion is divided with carved stones forming the "bed", the Inka might have slept on that corner over some blankets woven in vicuna wool. On the northern end of the room there is a very small compartment that people have baptized as the "bathroom", which is unusual because bathrooms are not normally found inside the apartments. The room that stands in front is known as the ruler's "studio"; and the two small "wayranas" on two opposing sides were probably used as kitchen and workshop. Almost by the middle of the central patio there is a carved stone that served as a mortar in order to grind grains or some other goods. Leaving the group through its only entrance (today there is another way out behind the "studio" that was opened to help tourists walk around), in the small and narrow passage, towards the right side and about two meters high is a protruding carved stone as a fake beam that has a hole in the middle.

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