Inca Architecture

Inca Architecture, Sacsayhuaman

Inca architecture is the most significant pre-Columbian architecture in South America. Prior to construction of any building, palace, temple, village or city; Quechuas had a process of physical planning tending to ensure later success. Undeniably.

The Incas developed an extensive road system spanning most of the western length of the continent. Inca rope bridges could be considered the world's first suspension bridges. Because the Incas used no wheels (the Inca, unlike many other large empires, never discovered the wheel) or horses they built their roads and bridges for foot and pack-llama traffic.

The essence of Inka architecture cannot be distilled into a single word. Three themes demand recognition: precision, functionality, and austerity. The Inka stonefitters worked stone with a precision unparalleled in human history; their architects clearly esteemed functionality above decoration; yet their constructions achieved breathtaking beauty through austerity of line and juxtaposition of masses. The Inka seem to have presaged Mies Van der Rohe's philosophy of "less is more".

The basic shape of Inca Architecture is a rectangular building without any internal walls. Typically these single room units had either thatched or wooden beam roofs. Many of these structures were built side-by-side, often sharing a wall though not a door. These buildings may have been used as homes, storage, or served for government or religious activities. In his book Incan Settlement Planning, John Hyslop writes: “The rectangular plan could not dominate the Inca buildings. From humble rural houses to the halls of the most sacred temple…” Occasionally the Incan built circular or two story buildings.

Prior to executing any construction Inkas made some sketches and designs, and models or maquettes in scales which measurement systems mainly based in anthropometry (measures with relationship to the human body: arms, elbows, feet, steps, spans, etc.) are lost. A demonstration of this in-advance planning are the large amount of maquettes found in almost all the archaeological museums in the country; they are carved in stone or made in pottery.

Visit Cusco and Machu Picchu and experience the fascinating architecture of the Inca ruins.

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