back to the main page

back to chapter selection page

The Amazing New Adventures of Larry and Mark - Peru, Land of the Incas

Chapter 32

 The Sacred Square

The Sacred Square


I think that if I went back to Machu Picchu about a dozen times, I would be able to get

all my photos exactly right, and position my camera exactly the way I see other people's

photos.  But how are all of these photos shot with no people in them?


Below is a commercial photo which shows the Sacred Square , somehow free of visitors

(like me!)  This area is a courtyard, surrounded by a series of small buildings, including

two of the most beautiful constructions. 


Sadly, these buildings were never completed, due to the invasion by the

Spaniards and ultimately conquest of the Inca Empire.


Here is a view 180 degrees from the last one, showing the Temple of Three

Windows to left, the Main Temple below, and a third building above.  To the

right is the steep slope down to the Urubamba River.




The Main Temple has more regular blocks.  It is built in the 3-walled or

wayrana style house.  It is felt that this building was the main place of

worship for the city. 


One of the common aspects to all the Inca architecture are the wall niches.

They may be high on walls, or low, but they are invariably trapezoidal shape.

It is felt that, depending on the building, these niches contained holy articles

(including skulls of ancestors) and personal property.  There is no evidence

that the Inca ever had tables or other storage.  Prongs built into the stones

were used for hanging.


The trapezoidal shape has also been shown to be more resistant to displacement

during earthquakes.  Many times, it was shown that Inca architecture was left

standing when earthquakes demolished Spanish buildings.



Another thing you cannot miss noticing is the major rock displacement in

the Main Temple.  There are two schools of thought:

1) Subsiding of the land is occurring in some areas in a major way, and it is felt

that weather changes including increasing rain may be partially responsible.


2) Much of the subsiding occurred very soon after construction, due to rushing the

construction of the foundation along that wall, and there has been little movement since.



Monitor devices are set up to watch for subsiding of the ground.





The Temple of the Three Windows has been built with many shaped

rocks, which fit like a puzzle.  First named by Hiram Bingham, its finely

sculpted rocks still fit perfectly.  The large windows look down on the

main square or plaza, and the mountains beyond.



The incomplete gabled ends would have, if finished, supported a roof

along with the central upright stone.  Unfortunately, once the stone

workers left this job, they never returned.



There were originally five windows, but the outer two were closed off.




We continue the first day of walking around Machu Picchu


More soon!


Larry Reich


You may reach me with comments:

Laurence Reich 



back to the main page

back to chapter selection page

back to the top

back to chapter 31

on to chapter 33