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.