Wiñay Wayna

Inca Trail, Wiñay Wayna

Wiñay Wayna is an Inca site, neighbor to Machu Picchu, on an elevated perch overlooking the Urubamba River. It was discovered by the Wenner Gren Scientific Expedition to Hispanic America, which investigated both archaeological sites and native Andean peoples in 1940-42. Paul Fejos and his team documented a number of sites on or near one of the Inca roads leading toward Machu Picchu, a road now known as the "Inca Trail" by the thousands of trekkers who pass across it annually.

Wiñay Wayna also means "forever young" in the local Quecha language. At this site, the Inca terraced the entire mountainside for growing food, and built a two-level complex connected by a cascade of fifteen baths. Situated with views of the waterfall on the hillside above, and the Urubamba River below, it is likely that this site was a religious center associated with water.

The complex is divided into two architectural sections, with temples at the top and more rustic structures below. As many as 19 different springs carry water to various stone baths located at different levels throughout the characteristic Inca terracing.


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