The exquisite architecture of the massive Incan ruins of Machu Picchu, the formidable backdrop of steep sugarloaf hills, and the Urubamba River windin far below have made the ruins of Machu Picchu the iconic symbol of Peru. it´s a mystical city, the most famous archaeological site in South America, and one of the world´s must - see destinations.
Everyone must go through the ruins of Machu Picchu and have their ticket stamped. Those arriving from the Inca Trail enter the park via a path leading past the Guardhouse, away from the main entrance but they must exit the park, then enter again through the ticket booth. From there you work your way up through the agricultural areas and to the urban sectors of Peru Machu Picchu ruins.
There are almost no signs inside to explain what you´re seeing; booklets and maps are for sale at the entrance. Restrooms are outside the front gate, but not inside the incan ruins of Machu Picchu.
The English - language names to the Peru Machu Picchu ruins within the city were assigned by Bingham. Call it inertia, but those labels have stuck, even through the late Yale historian´s nomenclature was mostly offbase.
The Guardhouse is the first structure you encounter after coming through the main entrance of Peru Machu Picchu ruins. The Inca carved terraces into the hillsides to grow produce and minimize erosion. Corn was the likely crop cultivated. The semitropical climate meant ample rain for most of the year.
The House of the Terrace Caretaker and Funeral Rock are a 20 - minute walk up to the left of the entrance, and provide the ruins of Machu Picchu vista. You´ve seen the photos, yet nothing beats the view in person, especially with a misty sunrise. Bodies of nobles likely lay in state here, where they would have been eviscerated, dried, and prepared for mummification.
The Temple of the Sun is a marvel of perfect Inca stone assembly. On June 22 (winter solstice in the southern hemisphere), sunlight shines through a small, trapezoid - shape window and onto the middle of a large, flat granite stone presumed to be an Inca calendar. Looking out the window and onto the middle of a large, flat granite stone presumed to be an Inca calendar. Looking out the window, astronomers saw the constellation Pleiades, revered as a symbol of crop fertility. Bingham dubbed the small cave below the Royal Tomb, through no human remains were found here.
Fountains. A series of 16 small fountains are linked to the Inca worship of water.
Palace of the Princess, a likely misnomer, is a two-story building that adjoins the temple.
The Principal Temple is so dubbed because its masonry is among Machu Picchu´s best. The three walled structure is a masterpiece of mortarless stone construction.
Sacristy. At this secondary temple next to the primary temple, priests may have prepared themselves for ceremonies.
Temple of the Three Windows. A stone staircase leads to the three-walled structure. The entire east wall is hewn from a single rock with trapezoidal windows cut into it.
Intihuatana. A hillock leads to the "Hitching Post of the Sun". Every important Inca center had one of these vertical stone columns (called gnomons), but heir function is unknown. The Spanish destroyed most of them, seeing the posts as objects of pagan worship. Incan ruins of Machu Picchu are one of the few to survive - partially at least. Its top was accidentally knocked off in 2001 during the filming of a Cusqueña beer commercial.
The Sacred Rock takes the shape in miniature of the mountain range visible behind it. The Common Area covers a large grasy plaza with less elaborately constructed buildings and huts.
Temple of the Condor is so named because the positioning of the stones resembles a giant condor, the symbol of heaven in the Inca cosmos. The structure´s many small chambers led Bingham to dub it a "prison", a concept that did not likely exist in Inca society.