Machu Picchu










            The page starts with Ollantaytambo and continues on with most of my Machu Picchu pictures. 

            Machu Picchu, "Old Peak", was constructed around 1450 and inhabited for less than 100 years before it was abandoned.  The most commonly accepted reason for the abandonment was a smallpox outbreak that the Spaniards inadvertently used to help conquer the Incas but there are many other stories, like a young Incan Princess having an affair with a Spanish officer and when her father found out he ordered the abandonment of the city so that it wouldn't be discovered by the Spaniards.  Nobody really knows why it was abandoned but it was never discovered by the Spaniards and therefore remains mostly intact.  Hiram Bingham "rediscovered" it, or brought it to the worlds attention in 1911 and called it "The Lost City of the Incas". 

             By far the most fascinating thing about Machu Picchu and many of the other Incan and pre-Incan civilizations in and around the Sacred Valley of Cuzco is the mystery in the masonry.  Nobody knows how these huge stones were transported, chiseled or fit together and in some cases the engineering accomplishments of these ancient people are so extraordinary that many folks actually believe that aliens had a hand in their construction.

Click on the image and find the mysterious flying thing that has plagued my camera lens.


Ollantaytambo (Ollanta), the town and ruin site where the road ends and you have to take a train to Machu Picchu.

Looking at the storage towers on the other side of the valley from the main Ollanta ruins site.

To the left, they stored their food here because it was easy to defend (difficult to steal) and the constant breeze kept things dry.

To the right, other storage place. One guide said they were also lookout towers where guards could signal others when attackers were arriving.

Another Ollanta shot shortly before sunset.

Ollanta was left unfinished. Some say the indians from Lake Titicaca that were doing the labor, quit or revolted or otherwise became non-cooperative.

Another Ollanta shot. It's unknown exactly why Ollanta was unfinished but there are many large, partially carved stones left midway from the quarry.

The big door shot, one that you'll see in most Ollanta pictures.

Ollanta town square.

Ollanta train station, heading to Machu Picchu.

One of many other ruin sites along the way to M.P.

First glance inside M.P.

I couldn't stop taking pictures from this side of the park. It's certainly the most recognizable view.

Huaynu Picchu, or "young peak" is always in the background. You can climb to the top of it, if you're in good shape, but you need to get there early.

They only allow 400 people a day on Huaynu Picchu and it usually fills up before 10:00 am. There are several other small ruin sites there.

I like this one best. There is a Puma face on the face of Huaynu Picchu, and the rest of Machu Picchu is said to be shaped like a condor in flight.

The steps on the lower/mid right side are common in the many man-made rock faces of M.P.

Some kind of Altar.

Looking up the southeastern agricultural zone plateaus.

M.P. is very popular and crowded so I took every opportunity to take a picture that didn't show tons of tourists.

Those steps divide the agricultural area (where I'm standing) from the residential area.

More doors, Inca's were big on doors.

Temple of the sun.

A little settling over the 550 or so years. This is the main building of the temple zone.

Other side of the settling part.

Temple of the three windows, because there are three windows. Archeologists are way too creative.

Looking the opposite direction, back toward the entrance of the park.

Some of the residential area.

Thought to be an astrological time piece.

Closer to Huaynu Picchu.

Poser guests. Llamas are not native to this area but were brought here for ambiance.

Looking up to the astronomical observatory.

Same as previous photo, different angle.

In the residential area.

One of the 2,500 plus tourists to visit M.P. every day.

Other side of the Temple of Three Windows.

Temple of the Condor.

The rock formation thing there is supposed to be a condor. See it? Me neither.