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::: Cusco Info Machu Picchu Info

Nowadays it is a Historic National Sanctuary, protected by the Peruvian Government by means of Law Nº 001.81.AA of 1981, that tries to conserve the geological formations and archaeological remains inside the Sanctuary, besides protecting its flora, fauna and landscape's beauty. The whole park has an extension of 32,592 Has.; that is 80,535 acres (325.92 km²; 125.83 mile²). Machupicchu (the Inkan City) is located on kilometer 112 (70 miles) of the Qosqo-Quillabamba railway; the train station is known as "Puente Ruinas" and lies at an altitude of 2000 mts (6560 ft.). From that station there are buses in order to get to South-America's most famous Archaeological Group that is found at an average altitude of 2450 mts (8038 ft.), and at 13°09'23'' of South Latitude and 72°32'34'' of West Longitude. The climate in that sector has also some characteristics that are found all over the region; thus, only two well defined seasons are distinguished: the rainy season between September to April, and the dry season from May to August

Nevertheless, Machupicchu is found by the commencement of the Cusquenian Amazonian Jungle, so the chance of having rains or showers is latent by any time of the year. In the hottest days it is possible to get even about 26° Celsius (78.8° Fahrenheit), while that in the coldest early mornings in June and July the temperature may drop to -2° C. (28.4° F); the average annual temperature is 16 degrees Celsius.
Annually, there is an average of rains from 1571 mm. (61 in.) to 2381 millimeters (93 in.). It is obvious that the monthly relative humidity is in direct relationship to rains, so the humidity average is from 77% during the dry months to 91% in the rainy months.
The Machupicchu Historic National Sanctuary is found over a great granite orogenic structure baptized by Dr. Isaiah Bowman as the " Vilcapampa Batholith" that outcrops over about 400 km² (154 mile²). Its formation belongs in the scale of geological time to the Paleozoic or Inferior Primary and may have an approximate age of 250 million years. The Vilcapampa Batholith's white-gray granite is an intrusive igneous rock (magma cooled off in great profundities inside the earth); it is mainly compound in average by 60% of feldspar, 30% of quartz, and a 10% of mica. That granite has interlaced equigranular texture and possesses from 6° to 7° of hardness in the MOHS scale with a resistance of 1200 Kg/cm². Likewise, in this region there are some other rocks corresponding to the Inferior Paleozoic; such as schist, quartzite and metamorphic conglomerations that might have an age from 350 to 450 million years.
Machupicchu (like most of the Quechua names of towns and different sites in the region) is a compound word that comes from machu = old or ancient, and picchu = peak or mountain; therefore, Machupicchu is translated as "Old Mountain". The famous mountain that is seen in front, and appears in most of the classical views of the site is named Waynapicchu (Young Mountain). Unfortunately the original names of the mentioned sectors are lost, Machupicchu, Waynapicchu and some other proper names used today are contemporary ones; ascribed probably by farmers living in the region before Bingham's arrival. However, according to studies about some XVI century documents, the original name of the whole area might be "Picchu".
It is known that Hiram Bingham, a descendant of missionaries, was the man who found Machupicchu for the contemporary world and modern science. He was a North-American historian born in Honolulu, Hawaii; who in 1907 taught the South-American History and Geography course in Yale University. Later he was chosen as delegate of his country to the First Pan-American Scientific Congress carried out in Chile in 1908. By that epoch he began his activities as explorer taking a horseback journey from Caracas to Bogota, following the Simon Bolivar's way. Then he followed the old colonial trade way from Buenos Aires to Lima, arriving to this Andean zone in 1909; it is in that year when from Abancay he started with his first exploration towards Choquekirau, trying to find the last Inkan Capital. By that time many myths had been created about the possibility of finding the "Inkas' treasures" that according to tradition had been taken by Manko Inka is his retreat to Willkapanpa (willka = sacred, panpa = plain; its Spanish form is "Vilcabamba"); thus it was so common by that epoch to find treasure hunters willing to get to this last Inkas' dwelling. That same intention moved Bingham to study chronicles and even to visit Spanish archives, and subsequently in 1911 to come back to Peru with the aim of performing studies of geology and botany, and for sure, also in order to try finding Willkapanpa.
In Qosqo, Albert Giesecke, a compatriot of his and rector of the local University had put him in touch with Braulio Polo y la Borda, owner of Mandor. That local landlord told Bingham that on the hill in front of his property there were ancient constructions covered by vegetation where cattle were frequently lost; and moreover, he introduced Bingham to Eduardo Lizarraga, a farmland renter living in the area since the 70s of the 19th century, who had seen the buildings. On July 23, 1911 Bingham showed up in Mandor along with a policeman, Sergeant Carrasco, who escorted him by order of Qosqo's Prefect Juan Jose Nuñez. They found in his hut the peasant Melchor Arteaga who told Bingham about the existence of two Inkan sites named Machupicchu and Waynapicchu; that same peasant was hired by Bingham to be the guide in order to get to the Inkan City.

The next day, after examining the field they decided to climb up by the sector where nowadays is the zigzagging road. After noon they arrived at another hut where they found Anacleto Alvarez and Toribio Recharte; they were two humble peasants who along with their families lived in the area and cultivated the pre-Hispanic farming terraces. After a short break, they provided a boy as the guide for Bingham in order to have a first look of the Inkan buildings that were completely covered with entangled vegetation. That was how Bingham, at 35 years old, stumbled onto Machupicchu; a fortuitous happening that made manifest a great "discovery". Later he continued with his trip arriving even as far as Rosaspata, Ñust'a Hisp'ana, Pampaconas and Espiritu Pampa; places that apparently did not attract the explorer so much.
Almost immediately after his first exploration, he went back to the USA looking for economic support that was granted to him by the Yale University and the National Geographic Society. Subsequently, the Peruvian government in Lima facing Bingham's request in order to execute works in Machupicchu, by means of law given on October 31, 1912, authorized him to carry out his projected works. Besides, according to the fourth article of that authorization Bingham could freely take out of the country all the obtained pieces during his explorations, but with commitment of giving them back to Peru's simple petition. Authorization in the name of "international etiquette" that infringed some legal rules and caused irreparable damage to Peru's cultural heritage.
According to our history, in 1536 Manko Inka or Manko II began the war against the Spanish invaders, carrying out the famous siege of the city in which Manko was on the point of getting his final victory. But, after 8 months of bloody war he was defeated by the Spaniards and their allied tribes (old enemies of the Inkas). The retreat was unavoidable and Manko dissolved the gross of his army so that soldiers could take care of their families and devote their time to agriculture. Manko Inka beat a retreat towards Vilcabamba (Willkapanpa) following the Chinchero way and passing through Ollantaytambo where he won a victorious battle over the Spaniards; and finally he went deeply into the jungle, establishing thus his new operations center. The bloody war between Inkas and Spaniards continued. Manko was murdered in 1545 by some Diego de Almagro (a partner of Pizarro and the conquest) followers that were fugitives to whom the Inka had heathenly welcomed after their defeat and sentence to death for having assassinated Francisco Pizarro in Lima and for having rebelled against the established colonial order. Manko was succeeded by his son Sayri Tupaq who was persuaded by some of his relatives from Qosqo (faithful to the Spanish crown) to agree upon with the vice royal authority. He traveled to Lima and had a meeting with the Viceroy that conceded him some privileges and the Oropesa Marquisate that comprised lands in the present-day districts of Yucay, Urubamba, Maras and Chinchero. Apparently satisfied, he constructed his adobe palace in Yucay but died in 1560, perhaps poisoned by Quechuas opposing the agreement with the invaders. After Sayri Tupaq's death, his brother Titu Kusi Yupanki assumed the power. The new Inka dwelling in Vilcabamba also admitted political and religious committees from Qosqo and Lima in order to get an agreement with the Viceroy. In 1568 he was baptized in the Christian way and named Diego de Castro; by that time he died because of a sickness being then succeeded by his step brother Tupaq Amaru. Tupaq Amaru was too young and inexperienced and was advised by a group of veterans that saw in the conquerors their relentless enemy and continued their war. The viceroy ordered the Inka's capture sending an army of almost 300 soldiers, led by Martin Hurtado de Arbieto and captain Martin Garcia Oñaz de Loyola; they arrived to Vilcabamba giving different battles but the Inka and his family had quit even farther inside the forest. But finally the last Quechua Monarch was captured and taken to Qosqo along with his followers by the same Garcia Oñaz de Loyola (who later married Beatriz Coya, Tupaq Amaru's niece and heiress of the Oropesa Marquisate). After a quick judgment he was sentenced to death and subsequently decapitated in the great city's plaza before the cold glance of Viceroy Toledo on September 24, 1572. His remains were kept in the Santo Domingo Church; thus the last man of the Inkan dynasty was murdered, after 36 years of war willing to recover their Quechua nation.
In 1911, Hiram Bingham believed that he had found Manko Inka's Vilcabamba in Machupicchu; that is demonstrated wrong today because the exact location of that city and some other sites stated in chronicles are already known. On the other hand, today it is frequently asked how 150 or 180 Spaniards, the first ones who arrived here, could conquer so easily the Inkan Civilization that had from 12 to 16 million people; what is true, is that it was not a consequence of their physical power neither of their privileged wisdom, but simply because when the invaders arrived here there was a bloody civil war. Qosqo was always Tawantinsuyo's capital, its legitimate monarch was Thupa Kusi Wallpaq, whom history knows as Waskar Inka who had a step brother named Atawallpa that wanted to usurp power moving himself to Tumipanpa in present day Cuenca, Ecuador, where he crowned himself as the new Inka. Atawallpa was willing to overthrow his step brother, who after some battles was seized in October, 1532; subsequently, the Spaniards arrived to the Peruvian coasts and in November entered into the city of Cajamarca. Spaniards seized Atawallpa who from his imprisonment ordered to murder Waskar and all the Cusquenian "orejones" ("big eared people" = the Inkan nobility).


Cusco Info
Colonial Remains
Church and Monastery of Santa Catalina
Church and Convent of Merced
Church and Convent of San Francisco
Compañia de Jesús Church
San Blas
Trail to Machupicchu
Inca Trail
Machu Picchu 01
Machu Picchu 02
Machu Picchu 03
Ecological Reserves
Manu National Park

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