Thursday, January 31, 2013

Thursday, Jan 31st, Aguas Caliente, Peru

The dilemma of going to Machupicchu (MP) is that it really challenges your vocabulary.  The easy answer is to take good photos and hope they are truly worth 1000 good ones.  And I hope I have some of those.  After we returned today, some of our group had a discussion about places we'd been to, and how they compared with what we'd seen today.
 Most agreed that great ruins bring with them some of several characteristics which add to their worth.  These are story, location, and degree of construction difficulty.  The story of the civilization which built them is pretty important, and has probably weighted the more well-known societies with higher scores than they deserve.  It's easy to have fun visiting a ruin if it was built by somebody you know, and it looks like something you're familiar with and have appreciated before.
Structures built by those with no written language, where its design and function isn't clear, start off with a challenge to our acceptance.  In the case of MP, however, it's partly because it represents an outpost high in the Andes, many miles from the traditional coastal heart of the Inca Empire, that we are given the opportunity to explore the depth of the evidence and our imaginations.  It's because we have to work harder to discover the clues that we find it so exciting when they fall into place well.
The location of this site would make anything built on it a work of wonder.  Far up a powerful tributary leading to the Amazon, on 8-9 000 foot vertical granite mountains, the construction design alone qualifies it for our top list.  Demonstrating the precision seen in most other Inca temples, its carvers and stone masons produced stone joining techniques unmatched for hundreds of years.

So the builders in the Mayan, Egyptian, and Khmer worlds probably made superior architectural facades, and it didn't hurt that we could read their stories in them.  But they were all in flat flood plains, where transportation of materials, and housing of workers, was easier.

While my vote for the most mind-blowing feat of early man still goes to the 28,000 year-old cave drawings in Lescaux, France, I can put Machupiccu (the locals spell in as one word) up there in the top five.   


ps.  Still working on getting a faster wifi so you can see the beauty of this place.  Got them up, click on Machupicchu.  More posted att Machupicchu 2

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