The photos on this page show various sections of the main Machu Picchu complex. (For panoramic shots of the whole area, click here; for more close-up shots of individual buildings or features, look at the "buildings" or "windows and doors" pages.) We basically walked from the Guardhouse through the western side of the main plaza, had lunch with Henry after he climbed Waynapicchu in the area of the Sacred Rock, then walked through the eastern side of the complex on our way back to the exit. I've tried to arrange these photos more or less in this order.
These first pictures show the walkways down from the Guardhouse, after we got back from our Inka Bridge side trip. As you can see, there's a good bit of climbing involved in exploring Machu Picchu, although Joan and I eventually decided we didn't need our trekking poles since the walkways and stairways were usually relatively smooth and easy to navigate.
Here is a view of the western side of the complex, and a couple of happy tourists enjoying the morning and eager to explore the rest of the site.
Here are four shots looking back the way we had just come, toward the Guardhouse and the trail to the Inka Bridge.
On the left below and the upper right we have the sector known as the "quarry." This is where the Inkas worked on stones to be used elsewhere in the complex. Our guide told us that archeologists believe the whole site looked something like this jumble of boulders when the Inkas first found it and decided to build Machu Picchu here. I'm not sure if the photo on the lower right is of the quarry itself or just another area of jumbled rock. The lovely terraces below the boulders are all over this section of the complex and make great places for resting, meditating or picnicing.
The next series of photos were taken from the high ground of what our guidebook calls the Sacred Plaza. The elevation there isn't as high as the Guardhouse, but it's considerably higher than the sections of the site nearby and it affords some wonderful views. The top two photos look forward to the sections of the site we haven't been to yet, and the bottom two look back, toward the terraces and the Guardhouse.
Here are two more photos taken from the high Sacred Plaza. The one on the left looks across the plaza at one of my favorite Machu Picchu features: a large rock formation that the Inkas made part of their striking landscape design, rather than dismantling it and replacing it with something else. This was a hallmark of their architectural style. In the other picture, the two huts you see in the distance are the wayronas where Joan and Kathy waited for Henry to come back from his Waynapicchu climb. We saw a group of llamas put on quite a show rolling in the dust there!
Here are photos from the next section of our exploration, the eastern side of the plaza, where there are many, many buildings.
Looking up the slope you can really see how crowded with structures this section is... and there are more terraces down below
A collection of three more shots of this area, the middle one showing you, again, our old friend the photogenic Guardhouse.
And finally here are shots looking up at the terraces and back toward the "urban sector." Note the stone "peg" jutting out from the wall on the left. We were told these features, common in this area, were used to support the buildings' roofs, although some might also have been used as astronomical sighting devices. And you might also notice the rather menacing clouds approaching from the mountains on the right. We were afraid we might be caught in a rainstorm as we left, but if it rained on Machu Picchu that day, it was after we were gone.
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All photos, unless otherwise credited, are © by Henry J. Amen III. Please do not use without permission.