January 10, 2011

Cuzco, Peru

 Here are some more pictures from our Peru trip.  The picture above is from CUZCO.  these ruins are called Saqsaywaman, They are located just outside Cuzco up on a hill.  I you look closely you will see how massive the stones are that make up these ruins.  the larger the stones, the more advanced the culture was.  So although when you look at macchu piccu there seems to be much more left than in Saqsaywaman, you can tell that Saq was built at the peak of the Incan empire and knowledge because of the sheer size, and how perfectly the stones fit together.  Incan's did not use mortar, al the stones are held together strictly by the precision of the cutting of the stones. So of all the ruins that I will be showing to you Saq is the most advanced.
 This is an herb that the Incan's used for medication to soothe their stomach's (it's some form of mint, but I can't remember the name).
 Saq was the major military base for the Inca's because it could overlook the entire Cuzco valley and they could see their enemies approaching.  Although in the end not much was left of the Inca's because the Spaniards came in and destroyed everything.  The Spaniards believed that the Inca's were devils/demons, so only complete annihilation would make do for them. It's very unfortunate that such a large scale murdering was done in the name of "Christianity," very, very sad. 
 Turns out it wasn't very difficult for the Spaniards to do this because the Inca's were away at war with each-other.  this is our tour guide Phelipe, he was great.  He had been studying English for three years and did very well.  A tour for these ruins cost around $8, very reasonable.  One american dollar is equal to One Sol (peruvian money).
 I think Llama's are pretty awesome!!!
 here is the large scale picture of Saq. It is Located 2km from Cuzco. Together with the city of Cuzco, this monumental complex is considered the first of the new seven wonders of the world.  The Incas called it the House of the Sun and the Spaniards called it a fortress because of its zig-zag shape and the 1536 revolution. The construction, which is made up of three platforms one on top of the other, was one of the most important religious complexes of its time. At the top there used to be three large buildings one being a temple, another an astronomy tower and another that I don't know . there used to be many houses and many thousands of residents.

 This picture is one of my favorites because it demonstrates the beautiful countryside of Cuzco and you can see all the farming  and green land for miles.

Located 7km from Cusco at 3,700 meters above sea level, this site was popularly known as the "Inca's Baths". Researchers believe Tambomachay was an important center of worship of water. It is an archaeological complex made up of well-crafted canals, walls and windows which show the Incas' extraordinary architectural talents and their in-depth knowledge of hydraulics.
 This is from an animal reserve which I fell in love with!!!  More pictures from here to come, because Jake has those ones!!  but amazing!
 here is a photo of the local dance costumes worn in Peru, showing the native dances of Peru.
 On New Years eve Jake and I ate at this great little italian restraunt and were serenaded with a local band which was sooooo good.  We bought the CD!
 Happy New Year 2011 (or Feliz neuvo ano!!!)  we celebrated in the Plaza De Armas of Cuzco, but we only stayed until 11:00 because of the fireworks and firecrackers going off every minute filling the air with smoke and the free-flowing alcohol, but it was still fun to be apart of it for a short time!  Yellow is the color for New year in Peru (probably many Latin American countries).  I think it means money... not sure though.
On Jan 1st we took a private car far out into the countryside of Peru, we were driving all throught what is called the Sacred Valley.  This valley is peppered with many Inca ruins and beautiful agricultural plots of land that climb up steep mountainsides.  It is surrounded by steep mountains on all sides and has a beauituful peaceful feeling about it.

Here are some of my favorite ruins called Chinchero.  There terraces were made by the Inca's  in order to prevent erosion of their crops.  for a  long time the Peruvian government allowed the people to still cultivate this land, but because of misuse and the people not rotating the crops they are no longer used.
 An alter of Chinchero
 The beautiful streets of Chincero
 These are salt deposits started by the Inca's but finished by the Spanish it is called Mora. 
 This beautiful crop-circle looking ruin is called Moray.  I don't know much about it except in this particular place each level has a different temperature, sot that different crops were grown depending on the temperature.  Various levels were used for experimentation and flowers too.
 Moray, with the beautiful mountains in the background
 The country side of Peru is amazing, and so beautiful, it is not tropical.  but lush and green with large towering mountains and many, many farms.  it is very humbling to see the hard lives and work that many of these native people do.  Most do not have running water, or plumbing.  They do not have tractors to farm their fields it is all done by hand from sun up to sun down.  Hard, working loving people.  their homes are small made from mud bricks.  It is interesting to think that, truly American and some European countries live the way we do, the vast majority of the world is agricultural and poor.  We definitely are very, very blessed despite our current economic downturn and political distress.  My heart is heavy about the extreme poverty that it seemed MOST of the peruvian people lived in, yet many seemed very happy and hard working.  It is definitely a myth that the poor are lazy... if anything they are much more hard working than I ever have been in my life.
 These beautiful ruins are called Ollantaytambo they are ruins which are part of the Sacred Valley (along with Mora, Moray and Pisaq (which will be another post altogether). It is located at an altitude of 2,792 meters (9,160 feet) above sea level (lower than Cuzco). This is where the 4 day Inca trail hike begins (which we did not do). The Inca trail is unique because the Inca's didn't have many paths to their cities, because they didn't want people finding them.  The trails are only one/two persons wide often carved within sheer cliffs.
 Some more ruins of Ollantaytambo
Here is a picture of the tiny walk ways that were carved out of the cliff.  Jake is in Red.  Their cities are very high, usually on steep mountainsides.

Overall, if you want to be blown away with beauty, heights and ancient architecture; it is true that Peru is the Archeological capital of the world.


Seth said...

So awesome guys!

Nicki said...

Kim, I cannot begin to express how exciting and fun this is, that you are sharing your adventures in Peru. What an amazing and interesting transition this must be for you. I love all the pics and the country in some parts looks so gorgeous, with you adding to it!

Nicki said...

Kim, I cannot begin to express my deepest excitment for you, to be in the country of Peru. It is wonderful to see your transition into this country and what beauties lie around you, including you in it. I have enjoyed seeing and hearing your love and knowledge of the area. Truly inspiring with luscious photos to describe it.


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