Monday, October 09, 2006

The Face of the Inca God

The Face of the Inca God
Originally uploaded by Henrik & Barbara.
300 types of potatoes and 54 types of corn is what the Peruvians grows in the Sacred Valley close to Cusco. Impressive! What is even more impressive is that the Incas used to grow 1000 different kind of potatoes!!! They had very developed agricultural skills showed in the way they succeeded in adapting typical plants from the dense humid, warm jungle to grow in the cold windy Andean highlands.

On a one-day tour we were introduced to the Andean Quechua culture, which is the back bone of the Inca Empire. People seems to forget that the Inca Empire only became such success, because they based their techniques, engineering and architecture skills on the several Andean civilizations in Chile, Bolivia, Peru and Colombia, – the so called Pre-Incas. The Andean civilizations are thousands of years old, whereas the Incas only ruled for approximately 300 years.

We did a stop in Pisac, which contains the most famous market in Peru. The market covers most of the city and everything typical Peruvian can be found there, such as textiles, pan flutes, jewelries, souvenir sculptures not to mention guinea pigs and fresh boiled corns. More interesting was the Inca ruins and terraces above the city that contained a sun temple among other astronomical buildings which makes the site the most important astronomical site of the Incas. The structure of the sun temple included a year calendar based on the movement of the sun!
The surroundings also included the biggest cemetery of the Inca Empire. The Incas were mummified, often in fetal positions, and then buried in holes in a mountain wall along with valuables and artifacts such as little llamas made of gold and silver.

Next stop was Ollantaytambo. Ollantaytambo was the last defensive base of the Incas against the Spaniards. The most impressive of this site is the precision in the stone work as seen in Cusco. It is hard to imagine the thousands of workers who had transported the stones, some with a weight of dozens of tons (!), from a nearby mountain across a river and up to Ollantaytambo. Only tools available for them are guessed to be ropes and some rolling stones.
From Ollantaytambo we could see the Inca God! The Gods face and figure is naturally shaped in a mountain (see the pictures on Flickr).

One more thing we admire about the Incas is that they seemed to be the world’s first environmentalists. The Incas highly respected the nature. Their cities where shaped from and around the rocks without destroying the nature and the natural surroundings. Most cities were actually formed in natural forms: condor (MachuPicchu), puma (Cusco), Corn (Ollantaytambo) etc. They even had quotes on how many animals it was allowed to kill.

If you look at the center of the picture - you will find the face of the Inca God in profile.


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