Peru - Machu Picchu - Entering the Ruins

  Andrys Basten, photos taken 5/23-24 , 1997 (Click to enlarge)

    (130k)     From the other side of the Caretaker Houses
    This is taken from a point to the left of the area from which the photo of the Urubamba River was taken and faces northwest.

    It's at the bottom of the staircase on the city side of the Houses of the Caretakers and looks into the ruins of the old city .

    The pyramid-shaped and terraced Intiwatana hill (top center) was likely a combination spiritual and astronomical site, its main feature an elegant sculpture carved from rock pillar, by which the Incas predicted the solstices.

(135k) Llama near Watchman's Hut

Skipping ahead for now (physically not wise at that height) we are nearing the top of the steps and not far from the Watchman's Hut, situated to overlook the city below.

    Here we encountered a rather handsome llama. Looking east, we see the now familiar Putucusi mountain.

    The enlargement is pretty nice.

    (152k)     Wayna Picchu
Though familiar from stock photos as "Machu Picchu," this is actually Wayna Picchu or 'Huayna Picchu' (Young Peak), opposite Machu Picchu mountain (Old Peak) where I am, at this point.

    I'm standing at the highest point of the area classified by Hiram Bingham as the Agricultural Sector of the city.

    At the northernmost point across are two more structures which have had roofs restored recently. The restorations are controversial, with some believing the structures should be left as is.   I did like knowing how they looked when people lived and worked there.

    Wayna Picchu is a popular climb for hikers and takes one to two hours at most. It's considered not difficult, but I'd say it can be dangerous for the unprepared or careless.

    The month after I visited , a 70 yr old woman fell to her death, and Peru's El Comercio reports that in early October '98 a guide named Luis stepped out to get a better view and died after losing his footing. I happened to read about the woman in a small Reuters article, and a friend saw the El Comercio paragraph. Then, in the newsgroup I read that a fellow who was there several months after we were, was told a woman had fallen while they were there. I do wonder how many fall that we don't hear about. At any rate, hikers should walk with care, obviously.


Next . . .The ruins at Machu Picchu - II. . .

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