The hidden city, built in the golden age of the Inca Empire. Hidden, because it remained vacant and overgrown with plants during the Spanish conquest, which allowed it to be preserved. Today we know it as one of the wonders of the world. Thanks to a chain of historical events the time has come for the Lost City of the Incas to be found by us, aided by the magic of traveling.
It is no easy feat to reach the city since it is surrounded by steep mountains and the Urubamba River. We came from Cusco by car. It took us an hour and a half to reach Ollantaytambo, a small village in the foot of the mountain. From there we took the train for Aguas Calientes or the nearest village to Machu Picchu. The journey by train is delightful. We passed by the gloomy valley of Urubamba and the almost vertical hills, ending in the snowy caps of the peaks.
Then there is a 25-minute drive by small buses from Aguas Calientes to Machu Picchu itself. The ride along the narrow serpentine road gets the blood pumping.
After that there is a several minutes long hike.
The whole exercise is worth it when your eyes take in this view.
At this point we’ll share with you something we learned there. Look closely at the picture above. You can see the Lost City of the Incas and the peak behind it – the Huayna Picchu Mountain. Only a handful of people are allowed there every day. After an hour of hiking you can reach a place with a unique view, a true heaven for the photographer. We didn’t manage to go there, but instead we are going to show you the same picture, looked at from a different angle:
The famous human face in the mountains of Machu Picchu, which can be better seen in a more favorable light, but we cannot deny it has a character.
The words to describe the feeling of walking in a place filled with such energy are few and hard to find. Machu Picchu looks built with intent and enthusiasm. It is obvious that every structure was erected with extra care for the preservation of the nature and with thought of using nature’s gifts to build a better life.
The whole city is well-preserved high in the mountain due to the perfect drainage system, as seen in the terraces. The lower the terrace is, the bigger are the rocks beneath it, the higher it gets – the smaller are the rocks. The slope is designed in such a way that the terraces don’t retain water. It pours into the lower terrace or goes straight to the central drain, which leads to the river.
The terraces have been used for the cultivation of different plants. Due to the difference of heights of the terraces different crops could be planted, which otherwise would need a specially maintained climate. In this environment the Incas could simulate different climates. That is why there is something like a laboratory, where the people of Machu Picchu experimented with different plants and even created new sorts by cross-fertilization. The Incas fertilized the crops with their own non-poisonous excrements. That last one could have been a lie, but long live the vegetarianism.
The Incas believed in the forces of nature, which would help them survive. They worshiped the mountain. As an example we can show this model of the mountain, which is bigger than a building and shields from bad weather.
We saw the place in the center of the city, where the Inca scientists kept track of the seasons and estimated the most favorable times for planting and harvesting the crops. This place has the perfect acoustics.
Here is the time to say “Stop talking!” The following photos speak for themselves.
We spent many hours rediscovering the Lost City of the Incas, but it was time for us to abandon positions. We descended to Aguas Calientes, ate and drank while waiting for the train to Ollantaytambo. There we were met by our driver, who took us back to Cusco.
This article was brought to you in English by Marta Petrova.
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