Podróże małe i duże > Moje odkrycie Ameryki (Peru – Boliwia – Chile)

Machu Picchu – Lost City of the Incas

And the mists had all solemnly risen now, and the world lay spread before me.Charles Dickens

Lenin opowiadaMachu Picchu

Today we are going to visit a place that we cannot miss while travelling in PeruMachu Picchu. It is good to be there as early as possible, before the swarms of tourists show up! Now, everywhere is white, we are standing inside of a big cloud, a small house is emerging in the distance... I am starting to worry we will not see anything, but Lenin, as if nothing had happened, slowly starts talking about the place...

Machu PicchuMachu PicchuMachu PicchuWschód słońca na Machu PicchuWschód słońca na Machu Picchu
Machu PicchuMachu PicchuŚwiatynia Słońca

Machu Picchu was brought to light in 1911 thanks to Hiram Bingham who, while looking for Vilcabamba (the last capital of Peru), met by chance a villager in Mollepata. Melchor Arteaga (that was the name of the villager) showed Bingham the location of Machu Picchu. According to some people, this makes the American the great discoverer of this place. As an interesting fact, I shall mention that about 40 years earlier Machu Picchu was plundered by a thief called Augusto Berns (a German on the other hand) who took away every more valuable item.

Lenin was still talking; all-embracing whiteness was decreasing in intensity, the ruins of the city were slowly coming into our view, then Waynapicchu towering over the place and finally neighbouring mountains and the river Urubamba down below... It was as if a curtain in a theatre was slowly going up, almost magic. This time we were lucky!

Machu PicchuMachu PicchuŚwiatynia Słońca
TarasyDomek na szczycieMachu PicchuDrzwiNiebo z widokiem na raj
Lenin opowiada

Machu Picchu is the next place of disrespectful pillage. Who is the owner of the Incan treasures? It might seem, as the very name suggest, that the Incan treasures belong to the Inca people and their heirs, i.e. Indians from Peru and Bolivia - the former territories that belonged to the Empire. However, things are quite different... the Incan treasures belong to the USA just as the Egyptian treasures are the property of the British. The story goes that some thief (in the USA called an archaeologist) took away almost everything he found in Machu Picchu. Now, the stolen goods are located in the Yale University Museum and no one is eager to return the collection explaining that Peruvians gave their consent to the items being kept by Americans.

Światynia SłońcaWodociągŚciana ścianie nie równaMachu PicchuMachu Picchu

Peruvians have found recently in their archives specific documents which prove their agreement for the items to be taken to the USA in 1912 by Bingham (he claimed that there are no appropriate laboratories in Peru), BUT... it is clearly stated that aforementioned gentleman has 12 months for the research and after that period, items must be returned! After a year, Bingham asked for the extension of this period and he was given consent to the next six months. Afterwards he became a senator and got tired of replying to demands for the treasure to be given back... In this simple way the Incan treasures became American and for the reason that the USA is supposedly the superpower, I do not think that these treasures will be ever returned to their rightful owners. What Peru can do anyway?

Machu PicchuMachu Picchu
Sprzątanie Machu PicchuTarasy nad przepaściąTarasy nad przepaściąJak na kompasię
Świątynia GłównaRuchy tektoniczneŚwiątynia Trzech Okien

We are strolling in the remarkable city, sometimes we walk along narrow lanes, the other time we lean over a precipice (if we were in Europe, there would be many safety barriers for sure, thanks God we are in America). We climb lots of stairs, observe individual buildings. We can see a big crack in the walls of the main temple. Undoubtedly, people who built it matched its stones with superb precision and this in turn saved it from many earthquakes. Unfortunately it will not save the temple from a geological fault which is located here.

Tarasy nad przepaściąMachu PicchuWaynapicchuIntihuatana - kamień słońcaMachu Picchu

One should not pay much attention to the names of particular buildings that were offered by so-called archaeologists. Names such as the temple of the sun or the temple of the moon have nothing to do with the real purpose of these buildings. The truth is, scientists still do not know what their use was; needless to say they cannot say anything interesting about Machu Picchu at all! They do not know how it was built; they cannot reach an agreement when it comes to the time the city was built and by whom; they also do not know the exact way along which the water-supply system runs and works to these days. Finally, they do not know why the Inca people left the city. Thanks to so many unknowns, however, the city is more fascinating and definitely more mysterious.

Tarasy nad przepaściąNie patrz w dół

There are some people who suspect here the involvement of extraterrestrial powers, arguing that Inca people did not have proper technology and they could not even build a model of Machu Picchu, not to say build it in the real size. As an argument they refer to the fact that only a part of buildings is constructed from the precisely matched stones and the rest could be erected later by hands of the clumsy imitators, if we guess, maybe by Indians themselves. Lenin claimed that the difference between the technologies applied results from the use of a given building; more important structures, such as churches, were simply raised in a better way than, let us say, ordinary houses.

Machu PicchuWaynapicchuMachu PicchuMachu PicchuMachu Picchu

I do not know who could hew these huge stone blocks with such precision and use them for building so durable constructions, but no matter who it was, his or her work fills me with sincere admiration! However, if someone wants to be surrounded by aura of this place, pictures are not enough. One has to walk the steep and narrow stairs, look down into precipice, touch a wall, dip hands in water running along ditches in the city.

Intihuatana - kamień słońcaSchody do niebaSchody
Machu PicchuUrubambaMachu Picchu

you have to climb Waynapicchu and look at the city from above... and then go down the same steep stairs that were carved in solid rock by those who, sometimes falling down them, erected the city...

Machu PicchuSchodyWodociągNajazd turystów

There are more and more tourists gathering and sometimes it is difficult to make your way through. We go back to Aguas Calientes, where we say goodbye to Lenin, and collect return tickets to Cusco. Next direction: La Paz!

Aguas CalientesAguas CalientesSzczepan
Witold Wieszczek
Translated by Kamil Razowski.
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