Petit Futé's opinion on MACHU PICCHU
Standing at an altitude of 2,430 metres, it is embedded in the landscape, sculpted in detail to fit in. On the eastern side are the two large agricultural and urban zones of the city, which is said to have been the last refuge of the acllas (Acllahuasi), the virgins of the Sun in charge of perpetuating the sacred rites fleeing Pizarro's belligerents. In the urban sector, secular activities were concentrated, with residential areas and sewers, and sacred activities, with temples, mausoleums and royal houses. The architecture itself separates the two worlds: rather crude for what concerns the life of the people, refined for the buildings of the nobility. A large staircase leads to a watchtower that provides a bird's eye view of the site. Just below, a stone grouping joins the old Tumba Real (or Mausoleo) guarded by a tower (Templo del Sol or Torréon). Las Escalinatas de las Fuentes and a series of sixteen fountains where, it seems, ritual ablutions were performed. The complex adjoins the Residencia Real, which consists of a patio, two main rooms and numerous other service rooms. From the flight of stairs to the north, one reaches the Plaza Sagrada, which marks the entrance to the religious quarter. The central square is enclosed by several temples. It is here that one can feel the mysterious and unknown vibrations that emanate from this site. Here, reason and magic confront each other. The Intihuatana at the top of a pyramid that clearly emerges from the site is the most famous place. It seems that it was used as a solar calendar and continues to produce a powerful energy due to its strategic position in relation to the sun.
So much for the general view that we embrace with happiness from the Casa del Guardian, the most famous view of Machu Picchu. Then what was the site used for? Who built it? How was it built? These are historical mysteries and controversies. Pachacuteq had a great role to play, but it is also thought that the site predates him. It would have served as a rest house and/or a center for observing the stars. Excavations and research continue
It is now officially compulsory to visit the site with a guide (although in reality you can always enter the site alone). It costs US$ 20 per person for a private visit (minimum US$ 60). At the entrance of the site itself, few speak French, it is preferable to book through an agency for a more complete visit and a quality guide who are much in demand.
Information on MACHU PICCHU
Buy on machupicchu.gob.pe. Machu Picchu S/152, Wayna Picchu or Montaña S/200. Student/children rates.