Archicteture of Machu Picchu

Archicteture of Machu Picchu

All of the construction in Machu Picchu uses the classic Inca architectural style of polished dry-stone walls of regular shape. The Incas were masters of this technique, called ashlar, in which blocks of stone are cut to fit together tightly without mortar. Many junctions are so perfect that not even a knife fits between the stones.

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Adventure Life

The Incas never used the wheel in any practical manner. How they moved and placed enormous blocks of stones is a mystery, although the general belief is that they used hundreds of men to push the stones up inclined planes. The Incas did not leave any documentation about that process because they did not employ writing.

The space is composed of 140 constructions including temples, sanctuaries, parks and residences.

There are more than one hundred flights of stone steps – often completely carved in a single block of granite – and a great number of water fountains, interconnected by channels and water-drainages perforated in the rock, designed for the original irrigation system. Evidence has been found to suggest that the irrigation system was used to carry water from a holy spring, to each of the houses in turn, the order being dictated by the perceived holiness of the inhabitants.

Buildings were constructed in popular Inca style, made of polished dry-stone walls in a method known as ashlar - blocks of stones cut to fit together tightly without benefit of mortar. More than 100 flights of stone steps were carved from single blocks of granite. Evidence shows the presence of many water fountains, believed to have been interconnected by channels and water-drainages perforated in the rock to form an irrigation system. The irrigation system may have been used to carry water from a holy spring, to each of the houses in turn according to the holiness of its inhabitants.

Machu Picchu is composed of two sectors: agricultural and urban. The agricultural area is made up of terraces for cultivation. The urban area is made up of streets, flights of steps, water channels, small squares and other minor buildings. The buildings are basically of a single rectangular story. The windows and gates are of trapezoidal shape, as well as the niche where the idols or other objects were put. There are no roofs any more, due to the passage of time, since it is estimated that they were built with logs and covered with ichu (straw).

Agricultural sector

The Machu Picchu citadel is surrounded by agricultural terraces, some showier than others, so that the aggressive and unequal slope of the mountain is transformed into a stepped surface which covers the irregularities of the hillsides with completely flat terraces. As these follow the level curves, their contours serve, moreover, to redraw with firm lines the profiles of the mountain. Therefore, the natural surroundings, which are covered with a dense arboreal layer which is in itself fascinating, are transformed into a spectacle that harmoniously combines the irregularity of the unevennesses and the free distribution of the colors and forms of the forest with the architecture of the volumes and spaces created by the human will.

Urban Sector

This sector, clearly separated from the previous one by a great perimetral wall, was accessed through a beautiful, double-jambed stone gateway - a typical feature of Inca architecture - giving access to the road from Cusco. This sector consists of 172 rooms of different shapes and sizes, communicated by 109 stairways enabling one to climb the steep hillsides. The most remarkable buildings are the follows: Temple of Sun, The Intiguanata, Group of the Sacred Rock, Temple of the Three Windows, Main temple, The doors, Mausoleum, The Street of the Fountains.


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