The Inca citadel is one of those places that casts a spell on you from the moment you arrive. At 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level, it’s an icon that represents the grandeur of the Inca Empire. The site dates back to the 15th century, making it a historical marvel at the foot of a mountain.
Learn about the Incas and their amazing way of life by exploring the ancient ruins and the Inca Trail with friends and family. In this blog, we’ll show you the best things to do during your Peru and Machu Picchu hike: discover terraces, temples, and emblematic spots!
1. Beautiful views at the Sun Gate (Intipunku) will amaze you
The Sun Gate, or Intipunku in the native Quechua language, was the main entrance to Machu Picchu citadel. It follows the Peruvian Inca Trail that ends at Machu Picchu. Thus, from Intipunku, you’ll admire the fantastic view of the mysterious ‘Lost City of the Incas.’
2. Visit the emblematic Temple of the Sun
Built for ceremonial purposes, the Temple of the Sun, or the Torreón, was a sacred temple. The Incas used it to pay tribute and give offerings to the sun. The Torreón was used as an astronomical observatory. Therefore, it helped to measure solstices and stargazing.
Inti, also called Apu-punchau, was known as the sun god. He was the son of Viracocha, the universe creator, and his wife, Mama Cocha, the goddess of the sea. The Incas believed that the sun controlled their lives, and it was vital for agriculture. Even though Inti was a benevolent god, he was also angry. For instance, solar eclipses were supposed to be a manifestation of his discontent.
Manco Cápac, the founder of the Inca Empire, was Inti’s son. Then, during the Inca Empire, Inti Raymi -Quechua for “Inti festival”-, was the most important ceremony celebrated in Cusco, at an elevation of 3,399 meters (11,200ft). Even so, nowadays, indigenous cultures in the Andes celebrate Inti Raymi every June 24th.
3. See the Sacred Rock
The Sacred Rock is a monolith that looks like the Putucusi Mountain. It has a height of 3 meters, seated in a base of 7 meters in width. For instance, historians think it might have been an altar, being at an area of worship of the gods -also known as Apus-.
4. Hike up to Huayna Picchu
The famous photos of the Inca citadel always include the beautiful Huayna Picchu mountain, standing right behind Machu Picchu.
Adventure tourists who travel to Peru, with the objective to follow the Inca Trail and discover Machu Picchu, like to hike Huayna Picchu for its incredible views. However, the hike requires no technical skills or climbing tools. However, in some places, you’ll need railing and cables. The total ascent is over 350 meters (1.000ft).
5. Visit the Temple of the Moon
If you climb Huayna Picchu, you’ll be able to visit the Temple of the Moon and The Great Cavern. The Incas used it as an observation point. Historians think that the Incas preferred caves because they could connect them to the world of the dead.
6. Tour the Principal Temple
Principal Temple is located on the Sacred Plaza. With its three-sided building, it is a great example of Inca masonry. The temple was used for ceremonial offerings, rituals, and burials. Moreover, it’s located at the highest position in the city.
7. Look at Intihuatana
Intihuatana means ‘the place to tie up the sun.’ The amazing object, carved from a huge rock, is standing at Sacred Plaza. The four-sided, rectangular-shaped stone points to the north, south, east, and west directions. The Incas used the Intihuatana to predict solstices.
Machu Picchu, the crowned jewel of Peru, is a majestic and mysterious place thanks to its history, unique architecture, and stunning natural surroundings. Getting to Machu Picchu is like stepping into a thrilling dream. The electric blue skies and the majestic mountains will definitely dazzle you!
Contact our destination experts and plan your Machu Picchu tour today!
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