Citadel of Machu Picchu

The Lost City of the Incas


The archaeological site is located on the left bank of the Vilcanota River, in the gorge of Kusi Chaka, to the mouth of the river Aobamba. In the district of Machu Picchu, province of Urubamba, department of Cusco to 112.5 km. northeast of the city of Cusco in Peru.

To reach the Inca city of Machu Picchu, you can choose between two routes: by Inca Trail or by train to Aguas Calientes and from there by car or walking up to the mountain where the citadel is located.


Machu Picchu Quechua word whose meaning is old mountain. Today is universally known, both for its impressive archaeological remains, and its unique location, on the edge of an abyss at the bottom run great waters of the Urubamba River.

Machu Picchu, more than a citadel, is an architectural complex that only missing roofs. This resort city is called, by the large number of houses that today are counted more than 200, and at its peak had to be more. In addition, its design includes plazas, temples, roads, staircases, terraces, aqueducts, etc.


The citadel of Machu Picchu, includes distinct areas, which historians classified into sectors, the possible uses that gave the Incas.



    It is found in the current access road, middle up composed of a series of agricultural terraces. At the top it is what most call as the cemetery was actually a ceremonial agricultural sector, which is littered with countless stones. In this square a construction which call Guardians higher is simply a utilitarian building type Wayrana or Masma (Inca construction of three walls). Then, almost half of the square is a rock called rock-carved funeral home, which give different functions related to funeral rites, but it was actually a ceremonial altar of agricultural character. In the background you can see several buildings called ¨Qholqas¨ or large deposits. This is followed by a series of agricultural terraces called usually as platforms, but a lot of these, are with lots of vegetation.


    Located at the bottom of what is the current access road to the citadel. In this sector are lower Guardians, places that really were the homes of farmers. It should also mention that here agricultural terraces are covered by vegetation. The land that are in these terraces is vegetable humus that were brought from elsewhere and located in these terraces.



    Comprised of four buildings and some special lytic. It is a group of buildings related to purely religious functions. This set is decomposed as follows:

    • a) The Principal Temple

      This sector is best known as the Sun Temple. It should be clarified that in Inca times the sun was not the most important deity, his conception is linked more with the concept of light. This construction is an elaboration isodomos blocks and amazing socket. The feature is that blocks are lytic as observed, the lower are the semi megalithic character and the upper portions are small. The building has several trapezoidal niches arranged in 5-7-5 (5 on each side parameter and 7 in the center). Apart from this, on the lower front three lytic parameter of considerable dimensions. This block is the ceremonial temple area and the two small blocks are secondary or accessory elements of the main altar tables for placing objects that were used for placing objects that were used for the paraphernalia of rites performed here.

    • b) The Temple of the Three Windows

      Construction of Masma or three walls Wayrana type, although this is a slight difference in the front, where there is not a wall but a lytic pillar to support the low ceiling beam. The physical element of the presence of the three windows, it`s directly related to the symbolic-ideological religion trilogy of the Andean world such as:

      Centella - Lightning - Thunder
      Sun - Moon - Stars
      Puma - Snake – Condor

      That is, an element purely symbolic ritual architecture. In addition to the three windows, this place has two blind trapezoidal niches, which leads to another idea would be linked more to the ideological relationship memories of origins. Because this construction is linked to the symbolism of the three lands (pashas) or union of worlds within the Andean ideology. All this for the reason for the existence of lithic having the stepped carved sign.

    • c) The Priest's House

      A construction of ritual and utilitarian, such as a repository of parafernalics objects.

    • d) The stone of rites or ceremonies

      This is a large block located at the corner of the access to the square of the temples. It`s indicated that this large block was a ritual shrine, a sacred rock, which were carried out certain religious rites related to the sector, as were offerings, sacrifices, etc.

    • e) The living priests or Temple of the Stars

      This building is in the back of the main temple. Its walls are made of ashlar lithic rectangular or isodomo type. It has 13 trapezoidal niches and a monolithic that has 24 angles. Because of these characteristics and for the type of construction and location of it, this was related to ceremonial rites, although we cannot say for wich rites were dedicated.


    It was an element for calendric and astronomical observation use; at no time was a sundial, also had ceremonial and liturgical functions, people can not specify what kind of religious activities were made in this place, nor the type of deity worshiped.


    In Quechua, state was a double representation of the earth, which means two concepts: the first in the world in the cosmos or circular earth physical and ideological called ¨Teqse Muyo; and the second was a rock styling with profiles of a mountain; this element represents the concept of visible and arable land, so it was a ¨waka¨. In this way, the sector was directly linked to rites and rituals of agrarian character to earth


    According to a social logic of the system architecture and Inca urban design, and finally by the etnohistórica and ethnoarchaeological appreciation, we see that these were utilitarian neighborhoods, ie houses, warehouses, workshops, etc. Therefore, the idea of an exclusive neighborhood for thinkers and intellectuals discarded.


    People cannot deny this rock carved a ritual function because it was linked to a totemic element which is a bird (condor or perhaps a ¨huaman¨ = eagle or hawk) linked to the trilogy of totemic animals of the Andean ideology symbol, utilitarian because had to fulfill the functions of a workdesk.


The entering schedule for the citadel is from 6:00 to 16:00, the leaving time is at 17:00 with a capacity of 2500 visits per day.

The rate can be seen in the electronic ticket.

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