September 19th, 2008 – by: genkeeper
is truly as spectacular as everyone says it is. Located high up in the Andes, Machu Picchu was once an important Incan administrative, religious and royal center, and now has sadly become inundated with tourists. It has the dramatic location, magnetic tourist pull and mystical vibe, yet there is still very little archaeological evidence to give us insight into the site and the people who lived there. What we do know is that at least 100 people were buried here, both male and female, though the original osteologists botched the bone readings and said that they were all female. (Just because the bones are short does not mean they are female. Take a peak at the local population.
Percy and I looking at something - only Kristi knows what it is.
) Nobility was believed to have been mummified on the site, at the Hut of the Caretaker of the Funerary Rock. The Temple of the Sun is believed to have been used for astronomical purposes. If you're king and you tell your people the sun will be blocked out tomorrow for a short while in an eclipse and it happens, you remain king. Also, all those terraces you see are NOT for agriculture, they were retaining walls used to keep the soil in place and to prevent erosion. The Incans grew their crops elsewhere and shipped the food into Machu Picchu. Also, all stone was quarried and carved up on the site, saving in costly transportation methods.
To get a ticket to climb the steps of Wayna Picchu be at the entrance gate at 6:00 am when it opens. Hurry to the opposite end of the site where the line will already have grown to get a ticket to climb Wayna Picchu.
Only 400 tickets are given each day for two time slots 7-8 am and 10-11 am. You must enter the gate to Wayna Picchu before your time slot ends, otherwise you won't be permitted to go up the peak. There is often a long line to get on the morning buses that takes you from Aguas Calientes
to Machu Picchu. People often start lining up an hour early (4:30 am) for the 5:30 am bus which gets you to Machu Picchu at 6:00 am when it opens.
If you can't do the Inca Trail, take the train to Aguas Calientes the day before and get to the buses early, that way you can be one of the first people in line for the site and it really is worth it to have a few moments of peace with the ancient land before the hoards get too large.