SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD
In order to revive the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World concept with a list of modern wonders, a popularity poll to decide the New Seven Wonders of the World organized by the Swiss-based, government- controlled New7Wonders Foundation. The winners were announced on July 7, 2007 in Lisbon, Portugal, based on more than 100 million votes cast through the Internet or by telephone.
HISTORY OF SEVEN WONDERS OF THE WORLD In order to revive the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World concept with a list of modern wonders, a popularity poll to decide the New Seven Wonders of the World organized by the Swiss-based, government- controlled New7Wonders Foundation. The winners were announced on July 7, 2007 in Lisbon, Portugal, based on more than 100 million votes cast through the Internet or by telephone. The origin of the idea of seven wonders of the world dates back to Herodotus (484 BC - 425 BC) and Callimachus (305 BC - 240 BC), who made lists which included the Great Pyramid of Giza, Hanging Gardens of Babylon" Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Temple of Artemis at Ephesus, Mausoleum of Maussollos at Halicarnassus, Colossus of Rhodes and Lighthouse of Alexandria. Only the Great Pyramid of Giza is still standing. The other six were destroyed by earthquake, fire, or other causes. To be included on the new list, the wonders had to be man-made, completed before 2000, and in an acceptable state of preservation. Out of the 177 monuments which were up for consideration, the list was narrowed down to 21 sites on January 1, 2006, by a panel of six of world leading architects from five continents, such as Zaha Hadid, Cesar Pelli, Tadao Ando, Harry Seidler, Aziz Tayob, Yung Ho Chang and its President, Prof. Federico Mayor, the former Director General of UNESCO. The list was later reduced to 20 removing the Pyramids of Giza — the only remaining of the 1 Ancient Wonders of the World — from the voting and designating it an Honorary New7Wonders Candidate. The project assigned what it called attributes to each finalist, such as perseverance for the Great Wall of China, and passion for the Taj Mahal. The primary goal of the campaign was to foster and encourage global exchange and intercultural appreciation. In addition, "Global Memory" was created, meaning 7 things that everyone worldwide can remember and share. The New Seven Wonders winners were Chichen Itza, Yucatan, Mexico; Christ the Redeemer, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; Colosseum, Rome, Italy; Great Wall of China, China; Machu Picchu, Cuzco, Peru; Petra, Jordan; and Taj Mahal, Agra, India. The famous Mayan pyramids of Chichen-Itza are over 1500 years old. The name Chichen-Itza is a Mayan word: CHI (mouth) CHEN (well) and ITZA (of the Itza tribe). Some believe people were occasionally thrown into the nearby cenote as sacrifices, and those who survived were believed to be seers. The site is divided into three sections. The North grouping of structures is distinctly Toltec in style. The central group appears to be from the early period. The southern group is known as "The Old Chichen." The central pyramid, also known as El Castillo is the main attraction and it has 365 steps, one step for each day of the year. Just beyond El Castillo, there is a ball court which has a mystery about the Mayan prophecy that on Dec. 22, 2012, the great warrior serpent Kukulkan will rise from the ground beneath the playing field and end the world for good. Christ the Redeemer, a statue of Jesus Christ in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, is considered the largest art deco statue in the world. It stands 39.6 meters (130 ft) tall, including its 9.5 meters (31 ft) pedestal, and 30 meters (98 fit) wide. It weighs 635 tons and is located at the peak of the 700 meters (2,300 ft) Corcovado Mountain in the Tijuca Forest National Park overlooking the city. A symbol of Catholicism, the statue, made of reinforced concrete and soapstone, has become an icon of Rio and Brazil. It is said that in 1921, a group called Catholic Circle of Rio organized a Monument Week to attract donations and collect signatures to support the building of the statue. The donations came mostly from Brazilian Catholics. The Statute of the Christ was designed by local engineer Heitor da Silva Costa and sculpted by French sculptor Paul Landowski. At a cost of $250,000, the construction of the monument took nine years and was opened on October 12, 1931. In 2008, when a violent electrical storm hit the statue, it was left unscathed because soapstone, the material forming the outer layers of the statue, is an insulator. The COLOSSEUM or Roman Coliseum, originally the Flavian Amphitheatre, is an elliptical amphitheatre in the center of the city of Rome, Italy. It is the largest ever Colosseum built in the Roman Empire and one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering. Its construction started between 70 and 72 AD under the emperor Vespasian and was completed in 80 AD under Titus, with further modifications being made during Domitian's reign (81-96). With a seating capacity of 50,000 spectators, the Colosseum was initially used for gladiatorial contests and public spectacles such as mock sea battles, animal hunts, executions, re-enactments of famous battles, and dramas based on Classical mythology. In the early medieval ear, the building ceased to be used for entertainment but was later reused for such purposes as housing, workshops, and quarters for a religious order, a fortress, a quarry, and a Christian shrine. Today, the Colosseum, which stands partially ruined, is an iconic symbol of Imperial Rome and is one of Rome's most popular tourist attractions. The Great Wall of China is a series of stone and earthen fortifications in northern China, built, rebuilt, and maintained between the 5th century BC and the 16th century to protect the northern borders of the Chinese Empire during various successive dynasties. Since the 5th century BC, several walls have been built that were referred to as the Great Wall. One of the most famous is the wall built between 220-206 BC by the first Emperor of China, Qin Shi Huang. Little of that wall remains today. The majority of the existing Wall was built during the Ming Dynasty. THE GREAT WALL stretches from Shanhaiguan in the east to Lop Nur in the west, along an arc that roughly delineates the southern edge of Inner Mongolia. The most comprehensive archaeological survey, using advanced technologies, has recently concluded that the entire Great Wall, with all of its branches, stretches for 8,851.8 km—6,259.6 km of sections of actual wall, 359.7 km of trenches and 2,232.5 km of natural defensive barriers such as hills and rivers. MACHU PICCHU is a pre-Columbian Inca site located 2,430 meters (8,000 ft) above sea level on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru. Often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas", Machu Picchu is one of the most familiar symbols of the Inca Empire. The Incas started building it around AD 1430 but it was abandoned as an official site for the Inca rulers a hundred years later at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. Its primary buildings are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. It was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Since it was not plundered by the Spanish when they conquered the Incas, it is especially important as a cultural site and is considered a sacred place. PETRA is an archaeological site in the Arabah, Man Governorate, Jordan, lying on the slope of Mount Hor in a basin among the mountains which form the eastern flank of Arabah (Wadi Araba), the large valley running from the Dead Sea to the Gulf of Aqaba. Renowned for its rock cut architecture, Petra was constructed by Nabataea’s as their capital city around 100 BC. The site was introduced to the Western world by Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt in 1812. In 1985, the UNESCO described it as "one of the most precious cultural properties of man's cultural heritage and designated it as a World Heritage Site. The Taj Mahal, also the Taj, is a mausoleum located in Agra, India, built by Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal. It is considered the finest example of Mughal architecture, a style that combines elements from Persian, Indian, and Islamic architectural styles. While the white domed marble mausoleum is its most familiar component, the Taj Mahal is actually an integrated complex of structures. Its construction began around 1632 and was completed around 1653. Ustad Ahmad Lahauri is generally considered to be the principal designer. By the late 19th century, parts of the buildings had fallen badly into disrepair. British viceroy Lord Curzon ordered a massive restoration project, which was completed in 1908. During this time the garden was remodelled with British-style lawns that are still in place today. In 1983, the Taj Mahal became a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was cited as "the jewel of Muslim art in India and one of the universally admired masterpieces of the world's heritage." TAJ MAHAL The Taj Mahal of Agra is one of the Seven Wonders of the World, for reasons more than just looking magnificent. It's the history of Taj Mahal that adds a soul to its magnificence: a soul that is filled with love, loss, remorse, and love again. Because if it was not for love, the world would have been robbed of a fine example upon which people base their relationships. An example of how deeply a man loved his wife, that even after she remained but a memory, he made sure that this memory would never fade away. This man was the Mughal Emperor Shah Jahan, who was head- over-heels in love with Mumtaz Mahal, his dear wife. She was a Muslim Persian princess (her name Arjumand Banu Begum before marriage) and he was the son of the Mughal Emperor Jehangir and grandson of Akbar the Great. It was at the age of 14 that he met Mumtaz and fell in love with her. Five years later in the year 1612, they got married. Mumtaz Mahal, an inseparable companion of Shah Jahan, died in 1631, while giving birth to their 14th child. It was in the memory of his beloved wife that Shah Jahan built a magnificent monument as a tribute to her, which we today know as the "Taj Mahal". The construction of Taj Mahal started in the year 1631. Masons, stonecutters, inlayers, carvers, painters, calligraphers, dome-builders and other artisans were requisitioned from the whole of the empire and also from Central Asia and Iran, and it took approximately 22 years to build what we see today. An epitome of love, it made use of the services of 22,000 laborers and 1,000 elephants. The monument was built entirely out of white marble, which was brought in from all over India and central Asia. After an expenditure of approximately 32 million rupees (approx US $68000), Taj Mahal was finally completed in the year 1653. It was soon after the completion of Taj Mahal that Shah Jahan was deposed by his own son Aurangzeb and was put under house arrest at nearby Agra Fort. Shah Jahan, himself also, lies entombed in this mausoleum along with his wife. Moving further down the history, it was at the end of the 19th century that British Viceroy Lord Curzon ordered a sweeping restoration project, which was completed in 1908, as a measure to restore what was lost during the Indian rebellion of 1857: Taj being blemished by British soldiers and government officials who also deprived the monument of its immaculate beauty by chiseling out precious stones and lapis lazuli from its walls. Also, the British style lawns that we see today adding on to the beauty of Taj were remodeled around the same time. Despite prevailing controversies, past and present threats from Indo-Pak war and environmental pollution, this epitome of love continuous to shine and attract people from all over the world. THE GREAT WALL OF CHINA It was the most ambitious building project ever attempted in the history of mankind. And its story has been almost impossible to tell – until now. Based on astonishing new archaeological finds and extraordinary first-person accounts, Great Wall of China tells the story of one of the greatest wonders the world has ever known. It’s more than 3,000 miles in length and was built in just 20 years by a workforce of nearly two million using technology and construction techniques that continue to inspire awe even today. The story of its building, one of human drama, labor and loss, is told in this film through three individuals, each one central to the tale. Thirteen-year-old Emperor Muzong, whose Kingdom is pushed to the brink of destruction by invading Mongolian warriors, demands that a wall be built that can never be breached again. General Qi Jiguang, a military hero and engineering genius, is tasked with overseeing the largest workforce ever assembled on earth. And Zhou Li, an ordinary soldier, is forced to work in conditions of unimaginable hardship but ultimately finds sanctuary and peace in the shadow of this great wall. The history of the Great Wall is said to start from the Spring and Autumn Periods when seven powerful states appeared at the same time. In order to defend themselves, they all built walls and stationed troops on the borders. At that time, the total length of the wall had already reached 3,107 miles, belonging to different states. In 221 BC, the Emperor Qin absorbed the other six states and set up the first unified kingdom in Chinese history. In order to strengthen his newly born authority and defend the Huns in the north, he ordered connecting the walls once built by the other states as well as adding some sections of his own. Thus was formed the long Qin's Great Wall which started from the east of today's Liaoning Province and ended at Lintao, Gansu Province. In the Western Han Dynasty, the Huns became more powerful. The Han court started to build more walls on a larger scale in order to consolidate the frontier. In the west, the wall along the Hexi corridor, Yumenguan Pass, and Yangguan Pass was built. In the north, Yanmenguan Pass and Niangziguan Pass in Shanxi were set up. Many more sections of the wall extended to Yinshan Mountain and half of the ancient Silk Road was along the Han's wall. The Northern Wei, Northern Qi and Northern Zhou Dynasties all built their own sections but on a smaller scale than the walls in the Han Dynasty. The powerful Tang Dynasty saw peace between the northern tribes and central China most of the time, so few wall sections were built in this period. CHRIST THE REDEEMER STATUE Photograph by Samba Photo/Photonica/Getty Images The 105-foot-tall (38-meter-tall) "Christ the Redeemer" statue in Rio de Janeiro,Brazil, was among the "new seven wonders of the world" announced July 7 following a global poll to decide a new list of human-made marvels. The winners were voted for by Internet and phone, American Idol style. The other six new wonders are the Colosseum in Rome, India's Taj Mahal, the Great Wall of China, Jordan's ancient city of Petra, the Inca ruins of Machu Picchu in Peru, and the ancient Maya city of Chichén Itzá in Mexico. The contest was organized by the New7Wonders Foundation—the brainchild of Swiss filmmaker and museum curator Bernard Weber—in order to "protect humankind's heritage across the globe." The foundation says the poll attracted almost a hundred million votes. Yet the competition has proved controversial, drawing criticism from the United Nations' cultural organization UNESCO, which administers the World Heritage sites program (pictures of the newest World Heritage sites). "This initiative cannot, in any significant and sustainable manner, contribute to the preservation of sites elected by [the] public," UNESCO said in a statement. The Cristo Redentor (English: lit. Christ the Redeemer, Portuguese:Cristo Redentor, standard) is a statue of Jesus of Nazareth in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil; considered the largest Art Deco statue in the world and the 5th largest statue of Jesus in the world. It is 30.1 metres (99 ft) tall, not including its 9.5 metres (31 ft) pedestal, and 30 metres (98 ft) wide. It weighs 635 tonnes (625 long,700 short tons), and is located at the peak of the 700-metre (2,300 ft) Corcovado mountain in the Tijuca ForestNational Park overlooking the city. A symbol of Brazilian  Christianity, the statue has become an icon for Rio de Janeiro and Brazil. It is made of reinforced concrete  and soapstone, and was constructed between 1922 and 1931. A VIEW OF THE STATUE, AS SEEN FROM A PLANE AND MOA'S HELICOPTER. The idea of erecting a large statue atop Corcovado was first suggested in the mid-1850s, when Catholic priest Pedro Maria Boss requested financing from Princess Isabelto build a large religiousmonument. Princess Isabel did not think much of the idea and it was dismissed in 1889, when Brazil became a republic with laws mandating theseparation of  church and state. The second proposal for a landmark statue on the mountain was made in 1921 by the Catholic  Circle of Rio. The group organized an event called Semana do Monumento ("Monument Week") to attract donations and collect signatures to support the building of the statue. The donations came mostly from Brazilian  Catholics. The designs considered for the "Statue of the Christ" included a representation of the Christian cross, a  statue of Jesus with a globe in his hands, and a pedestal symbolizing the world. The statue of Christ the Redeemer with open arms, a symbol of peace, was chosen. A VIEW OF THE STATUE AT NIGHT. Local engineer Heitor da Silva Costa designed the statue; it was sculpted byPolish-French sculptor Paul  Landowski. A group of engineers and technicians studied Landowski's submissions and the decision was made to build the structure out of reinforced concrete (designed by Albert Caquot) instead of steel, more suitable for  the cross-shaped statue. The outer layers aresoapstone, chosen for its enduring qualities and ease of  use. Construction took nine years, from 1922 to 1931 and cost the equivalent of US$250,000($3,257,463 in 2013).  The monument was opened on October 12, 1931. The statue was meant to be lit by a battery of floodlights triggered remotely by shortwave radio pioneer Guglielmo Marconi, stationed 5,700 miles (9,200 km) away in   Rome, but poor weather affected the signal and it had to be lit by workers in Rio. In October 2006, on the statue's 75th anniversary, Archbishop of Rio CardinalEusebio Oscar Scheid consecrated a chapel (named after the patron saint of Brazil—Nossa Senhora Aparecida, or "Our Lady of the Apparition,") under  the statue. This allows Catholics to hold baptisms and weddings there. A CLOSE UP VIEW OF THE FACE. The statue was struck by lightning during a violent electrical storm on Sunday, February 10, 2008 and suffered some damage on the fingers, head and eyebrows. A restoration effort was put in place by the Rio de Janeiro state government and archdiocese to replace some of the outer soapstone layers and repair the lightning rods installed on  the statue. On April 15, 2010 graffiti was sprayed on the statue's head and right arm. MayorEduardo Paes called the act "a crime against the nation" and vowed to jail the vandals, even offering a reward of R$ 10,000 for any information that  might lead to an arrest. The Military Police eventually identified house painter Paulo Souza dos Santos as the suspect of the act of vandalism. Restoration In 1990, further restoration work was conducted through an agreement between the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro, media company Rede Globo, oil company Shell do Brasil, environment regulator IBAMA, National Heritage Secretariat SPHAN and the city government of Rio de Janeiro. More work on the statue and its environs was conducted in 2003 and early 2010. In 2003, a set of escalators, walkways, and elevators were installed to facilitate access to the platform surrounding the statue. The four-month   restoration in 2010, carried out by mining company Vale in partnership with the Archdiocese, focused on the statue itself. The statue's internal structure was renovated and its soapstone mosaic covering was restored by removing a crust of fungi and other microorganisms and repairing small cracks. The lightning rods located in the  statue’s head and arms were also repaired, and new lighting fixtures were installed at the foot of the statue. The restoration involved one hundred people and used in excess of 60,000 pieces of stone taken from the same  quarry as the original statue. During the unveiling of the restored statue, it was illuminated with green and yellow  lighting in support of theBrazil national football team playing in the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Maintenance work needs to be conducted periodically due to the strong winds and Erosion to which the statue is  exposed. PORTRAYAL IN MEDIA A panoramic view of Christ the Redeemer at the top of Corcovado Mountain. In the background is Sugarloaf Mountain(centre) and Guanabara Bay. Christ the Redeemer is featured in various works of fiction and media. As early as the 1940s, Hollywood captured the structure's iconic appeal in such cinematic vehicles as the 1942 Bette Davis film Now, Voyager and Alfred Hitchcock's 1946 film Notorious starring Ingrid Bergman. The statue was featured in a major destruction scene in the movie 2012, when its arms collapse, and the rest of the statue fails at the knees and crumbles as it collides with the side of the mountain, from a magnitude 8.5 earthquake. This scene was highly controversial, especially when it was featured in a billboard campaign in Los  Angeles, when Brazilian multimedia designer Sara Vieira spoke out against it. It is featured in the following video games The statue watches over fictional "Verona Beach" in Baz Luhrmann's Romeo + Juliet. The MTV show Viva La Bam Mr. Magoo. The 2011 animated film Rio The live-action film Fast Five. The 2011 drama fantasy The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1. In the science fiction anime Legend of the Galactic Heroes the planet Heinessen has a giant monument to its founder in which he is posed in the same position as Jesus in the Redeemer statue. Karl Pilkington visits the statue on his travels whilst filming 'An Idiot Abroad'. Dynamo Magician Impossible preformed a trick in front of it for his TV show See also Monumento al Divino Salvador del Mundo, Monument to the Savior of the World San Salvador City, El Salvador Cristo Redentore, Christ the Redeemer of Maratea, Italy Christ of Vung Tau in Vietnam (32 m) Christ Blessing in Manado, North Sulawesi, Indonesia (30m) COLOSSEUM Even after the decadent Roman emperor Nero took his own life in A.D. 68, his misrule and excesses fueled a series of civil wars. No fewer than four emperors took the throne in the tumultuous year after Nero's death; the fourth, Vespasian, would end up ruling for 10 years (A.D. 69-79). The Flavian emperors, as Vespasian and his sons Titus (79-81) and Domitian (81-96) were known, attempted to tone down the excesses of the Roman court, restore Senate authority and promote public welfare. Around 70-72, Vespasian returned to the Roman people the lush land near the center of the city, where Nero had built an enormous palace for himself after a great fire ripped through Rome in A.D. 64. On the site of that Golden Palace, he decreed, would be built a new amphitheater where the public could enjoy gladiatorial combats and other forms of entertainment. After nearly a decade of construction--a relatively quick time period for a project of such a grand scale--Titus officially dedicated the Colosseum in A.D. 80 with a festival including 100 days of games. A well-loved ruler, Titus had earned his people's devotion with his handling of recovery efforts after the infamous eruption of Vesuvius in A.D. 79, which destroyed the towns of Herculaneum and Pompeii. The final stages of construction of the Colosseum were completed under the reign of Titus' brother and successor, Domitian. The Colosseum: A Grand Amphitheater Measuring some 620 by 513 feet (190 by 155 meters), the Colosseum was the largest amphitheater in the Roman world. Unlike many earlier amphitheaters, which had been dug into hillsides to provide adequate support, the Colosseum was a freestanding structure made of stone and concrete. The distinctive exterior had three stories of arched entrances--a total of around 80--supported by semi-circular columns. Each story contained columns of a different order (or style): At the bottom were columns of the relatively simple Doric order, followed by Ionic and topped by the ornate Corinthian order. Located just near the main entrance to the Colosseum was the Arch of Constantine, built in A.D. 315 in honor of Constantine I's victory over Maxentius at Pons Milvius. Inside, the Colosseum had seating for more than 50,000 spectators, who may have been arranged according to social ranking but were most likely packed into the space like sardines in a can (judging by evidence from the seating at other Roman amphitheaters). Awnings were unfurled from the top story in order to protect the audience from the hot Roman sun as they watched gladiatorial combats, hunts, wild animal fights and larger combats such as mock naval engagements (for which the arena was flooded with water) put on at great expense. The vast majority of the combatants who fought in front of Colosseum audiences in Ancient Rome were men (though there were some female gladiators). Gladiators were generally slaves, condemned criminals or prisoners of war. The Colosseum Over the Centuries The Colosseum saw some four centuries of active use, until the struggles of the Western Roman Empire and the gradual change in public tastes put an end to gladiatorial combats and other large public entertainments by the 6th century A.D. Even by that time, the arena had suffered damaged due to natural phenomena such as lightning and earthquakes. In the centuries to come, the Colosseum was abandoned completely, and used as a quarry for numerous building projects, including the cathedrals of St. Peter and St. John Lateran, the Palazzo Venezia and defense fortifications along the Tiber River. Beginning in the 18th century, however, various popes sought to conserve the arena as a sacred Christian site, though it is in fact uncertain whether early Christian martyrs met their fate in the Colosseum, as has been speculated. By the 20th century, a combination of weather, natural disasters, neglect and vandalism had destroyed nearly two-thirds of the original Colosseum, including all of the arena's marble seats and its decorative elements. Restoration efforts began in the 1990s, and have proceeded over the years, as the Colosseum continues to be a leading attraction for tourists from all over the world. HISTORIA The Amphitheatrum Flavium a.k.a. Colosseum or Coliseum (though in olden times Romans referred to it as Amphitheatrum Caesareum or hunting theatre), was built by the Flavian emperors Vespasian, Titus and Domitianbetween 71-72 and 80 AD as a gift to the Roman citizens in the place where the previous EmperorNero (37-68 AD) had his residence, the Domus Aurea. (Click here to see what was there before Nero). The city needed an amphitheatre, as the only one with a (partially) stone structure, which had been built by Statilius Taurus in 29 BC, was too small. The emperor Caligula (12-41 AD) had started the works for a new amphitheatre, but Claudius (10-54 AD) stopped them when he came to power. Nero, too, refused to use the old Statilius' building and preferred to have his own amphitheatre built in the Campus Martis. It was a beautiful one, according to the historians, but it was destroyed, probably in the famous fire of AD 64. Nero's death in 68 AD marked the end of the Julio-Claudian dynasty; the Flavian family came to power. The emperor Vespasian was acknowledged as emperor by the Senate in 69, and wanted to make a political gesture to reconcile the Roman citizens with the new dynasty. So he gave back to the Romans most of the land that Nero had occupied in the centre of the city, and had the amphitheatre - a public facility - built in the place where once there was a huge artificial pond, in the park of Nero's residence. It took about ten years to build the amphitheatre. Vespasian started the works in 72 AD and his sonTitus (that's him smiling in the statue on the right) dedicated it in the year 80 with magnificent games that lasted one hundred days. It is generally accepted that the building was completed by the following emperor, Domitian, Titus' brother, who excavated the hypogea, the area under the floor of the arena, where the shows were prepared that can now be visited. In the amphitheatre, a Roman invention, were held shows that we would condemn today: the most popular were the venationes (hunts) and the munera (gladiatorial games). The Roman ruling class was obliged, by law and by the expectation of the people, to organize these shows to gain the favour of the citizens. The organization of the games, which involved great expenses, became a matter of public interest and was regulated by many laws. The whole area around the amphitheatre was dedicated to the games; near the Colosseum Domitian also built four ludi, the prisons where gladiators had their training. The bestiarii, who fought against the beasts, trained in the Ludus Matutinus, so called because the show with the animals was held in the morning. Then there was the Ludus Gallicus, the Ludus Dacicus and the Ludus Magnus. The Colosseum remained in service for four and a half centuries; there is evidence of many changes, additions and repairs. Many times was the amphitheatre destroyed by fire. Though the main structure was made of stone, a quantity of wooden elements (in the undergrounds, the arena itself, the masts of the velarium, the terraces and the roofs of the upper floor) fed the fire which in turn ruined the stone. The first repairs were probably made during emperor Antoninus Pius (86-161), as proven by one Corinthian capital of a column of that age found by the archaeologists, after a fire had destroyed 350 houses in the city. Major repairs, actually an almost complete rebuilding, were carried out after 217 AD, the year in which the upper floor was struck by lightning and went on fire. The embers set alight the wooden floor of the arena that in turn collapsed igniting the wooden structures beneath it and the rest of the building. The seven companies of Vigiles (fire brigade) of the city were summoned, and also the sailors of the Castra Misenatium, who normally manoeuvred the velarium, but to no avail. The Colosseum became an enormous brazier that stopped burning only after the fuel was consumed. Almost nothing was left of the Flavian building, and for five years the shows were held at the circus. It took more than thirty years to rebuild the Roman amphitheatre. Emperor Marcus Aurelius Antoninus Augustus, also known as Heliogabalus or Elagabalus (203 – 222) started the works. The building - still unfinished - was reopened and dedicated to the gods in 222 under Alexander Severus, who ordered that the taxes paid by pimps, prostitutes and homosexuals would be destined to the repair of public buildings, among which the amphitheatre. Actually the repairs were completed only in 240 under Gordian III and a coin was minted for the occasion. Gordian wanted to celebrate in Rome a lavish triumph for his victory in the war against the Persians, and had collected 32 elephants, 10 elks, 10 tigers, 60 lions, 30 leopards, 10 hyenas, 1000 couples of gladiators from the imperial ludi, 6 hippos, 1 rhinoceros, 10 bears, 10 giraffes, 20 Asiatic wild asses, 40 wild horses and many other animals. However, Gordian died in Persia in mysterious circumstances. Persian sources claim that at the beginning of 244 Gordian fought in a battle near modern Fallujah (Iraq), which ended with a major Roman defeat and his death. Roman sources on the contrary do not mention this battle and suggest that Gordian died somewhere else, upstream of the Euphrates. Philip, who succeeded Gordian as emperor, came to Rome and used all those animals. They were first exhibited and then killed on occasion of the shows organised for the millennium of the city: April 21, 248. The amphitheatre was again damaged - according to some sources - during the reign of Decius(201–251) or of Trebonianus Gallus (206–253). Decius led many persecutions against the Christians: among the victims were the bishop of Rome, Fabianus, and the future saints Ireneus, Abundius and Policronius. Two Persian subregoli (vassals), Abdon and Sennen, were executed in the arena and their bodies were left in the area between the Colosseum and the Meta Sudans, in the spot where a small church was later dedicated to them in the V century; this church was still there in the XV century. In 262, during the reign of Gallienus (218-268) a violent earthquake devastated the Eastern Mediterranean; also Rome was affected, so much that the following year a plague epidemic spread in the city. In 312 the Senate dedicated to the emperor Constantine the triumphal arch that is still standing near the Colosseum, and replaced the face of the Colossus with that of the new emperor. The head of Constantine was found in the XVI century between the pedestal of the statue and the Meta Sudans and it is now in the Capitoline Museums. In 320 the amphitheatre was again struck by lightning, but it wasn't heavily damaged. From this date onwards no more fires are reported, but there have been many earthquakes. In 357 the emperor Constantius II (317-361) visited Rome and was very impressed by the amphitheatre. The historian Ammianus Marcellinus that same year described it as in very good conditions. The last gladiatorial combat is recorded in 404, after emperor Theodosius established Christian orthodoxy, banned paganism and started persecuting its followers. Pagan holidays were abolished, the Temple of Vesta destroyed, the Vestal Virgins disbanded and auspices and sacrifices were considered witchcraft and punished. So it was in this period that most ancient Roman traditions and lifestyle ceased to exist. Also, from these years we have no further literary information about the Colosseum, and the only sources are the texts of inscriptions on stone slabs. From 408 to 410 the city was besieged by Alaric (370 - 410), king of the Visigoths. In the end his troops plundered the city for three days. During the Visigoth war the amphitheatre was completely abandoned and its surroundings actually became a burial site, as the sieges prevented the Romans from burying the dead outside the walls. After the war these cemeteries were "reclaimed" by burying them under 2 metres of earth, and one of them was rediscovered only in 1895. 89 burial places, dating from Diocletian to Theodoric times (IV-VI century) have been found in the valley of the Colosseum, mainly in the NE sector. 63 burial places have been found in and around the amphitheatre, though only 56 have been mapped. These 56 are located in 3 places. The 15 on the eastern side and the 18 on the northern side were outside the travertine paving around the amphitheatre, which was still in use. The third group of 23 tombs (VI century) were found inside the northern portico. So the obvious conclusion is that during the V century the area was abandoned, but the amphitheatre was still in use; in the VI, when the amphitheatre was closed, it was used for burials. The trauma of the Visigoth sack induced about half the population to leave the city. At the end of the IV century Rome still counted between half a million and one million inhabitants, but after the shock of the invasion their number halved. The following sacks furtherly reduced the population and at the end of the V century/beginning of the VI there were only about 100.000 Romans left in the city. The Visigoth sack might have obstructed the drains of the amphitheatre, flooded the hypogea and maybe also ruined part of the upper porch that had collapsed in the cavea, as it was once again repaired between 417 and 423 by the Praefectus Urbi Iunius Valerius Bellicius, probably with Praefectus UrbiRufius Cecina Felix Lampadius, who is mentioned in another inscription. How do we know all this? It is an interesting story. Between 425 and 450, probably after the 443 earthquake, Lampadius carried out more restoration works on the arena, the podium and on the terraces at his own expense, as he had inscribed on the marble. This particular inscription is also important because it had been carved on a slab that had a former inscription made of bronze letters. These letters left holes in the marble and these holes weredeciphered in 1995, and it was found that it had to do with the Palestinian war and the plundering of the Temple of Jerusalem. After the 429 and 443 ones, another earthquake devastated Rome in 470, and in between, in 455, the city was again sacked, this time for fifteen days, by the Vandals of Genseric (a.k.a. Gaiseric, 389– 477). Another inscription commemorates the repairs carried out by patrician Messius Phoebus Severus in 470, but the last restoration works mentioned are the ones paid in 484 or 508 by the Praefectus UrbiDecius Marius Venantius Basilius after an earthquake. See the text or the photo. In any case these works weren't the last to be carried out in the amphitheatre: the arena floor was again raised during the VI century, as stated by the fragments of an inscription found in the amphitheatre which has disappeared but that at the time had been transcribed. This last inscription commemorated the works made by Anastasius, a senator of the period following the fall of the Western Empire. The last venatio is recorded in 523. Gradually the taste of the public had changed, but the main reason for the end of the games was the military and financial crisis in the western part of the empire, together with the many invasions Italy had suffered. No one could bear the colossalexpenses needed to organize the shows, and this made the function of the building obsolete. Perhaps some venationes were held until the end of the VII century (Gentili), but in the VI-IX centuries the amphitheatre was completely abandoned. In medieval times houses and churches were built in the Colosseum,which was also used as afortress/residence by the barons of Rome. Read about it in the next history page.: . PETRA Petra (from the Latin word 'petrae', meaning 'rock') lies in a great rift valley east of Wadi 'Araba in Jordan about 80 kilometers south of the Dead Sea. It came into prominence in the late first century BCE (BC) through the success of the spice trade. The city was the principal city of ancient Nabataea and was famous above all for two things: its trade and its hydraulic engineering systems. It was locally autonomous until the reign of Trajan, but it flourished under Roman rule. The town grew up around its Colonnaded Street in the first century CE (AD) and by the mid-first century had witnessed rapid urbanization. Following the flow of the Wadi Musa, the city-center was laid out on either sides of the Colonnaded Street on an elongated plan between the theater in the east and the Qasr al-Bint in the west. The quarries were probably opened in this period, and there followed virtually continuous building through the first and second centuries CE. According to tradition, in ca. 1200 BCE, the Petra area (but not necessarily the site itself) was populated by Edomites and the area The Treasury was known as Edom ("red"). Before the Israelite incursions, the Edomites controlled the trade routes from Arabia in the south to Damascus in the north. Little is known about the Edomites at Petra itself, but as a people they were known for their wisdom, their writing, their textile industry, the excellence and fineness of their ceramics, and their skilled metal working. The next chapter of history belongs to the Persian period, and it is posited that during this time the Nabataeans migrated into Edom, forcing the Edomites to move into southern Palestine. But little is known about Petra proper until about 312 BC by which time the Nabataeans, one of many Arab tribes, occupied it and made it the capital of their kingdom. At this time, during the Hellenistic rule of the Seleucids, and later, the Ptolemies, the whole area flourished with increased trade and the establishment of new towns such as Philadelphia (Rabbath 'Ammon, modern Amman) and Gerasa (modern Jerash). Infighting between the Seleucids and Ptolemies allowed the Nabataeans to gain control over the caravan routes between Arabia and Syria. Although there were struggles between the Jewish Maccabeans and the Seleucid overlords, Nabataean trade continued. With Nabataean rule, Petra became the center for a spice trade that extended from Arabia to Aqaba and Petra, and onward either to Gaza in the northwest, or to the north through Amman to Bostra, Damascus, and finally on to Palmyra and the Syrian Desert. Nabataean Classical monuments reflect the international character of the Nabataean economy through their combination of native tradition and the classical spirit. The Temple of Winged Lions But among the most remarkable of all Nabataean achievements is the hydraulic engineering systems they developed including water conservation systems and the dams that were constructed to divert the rush of swollen winter waters that create flash floods. In 64-63 BCE, the Nabataeans were conquered by the Roman general, Pompey, whose policy was to restore the cities taken by the Jews. However, he retained an independent Nabataea, although the area was taxed by the Romans and served as a buffer territory against the desert tribes. Completely subsumed by the Romans under the Emperor Trajan in 106 CE, Petra and Nabataea then became part of the Roman province known as Arabia Petraea with its capital at Petra. In 131 CE Hadrian, the Roman emperor, visited the site and named it after himself, Hadriane Petra. The city continued to flourish during the Roman period, with a Triumphal Arch spanning the Siq, and tomb structures either carved out of the living rock or built free-standing. Under Roman rule, Roman Classical monuments abounded — many with Nabataean overtones. By 313 CE (AD), Christianity had become a state-recognized religion. In 330 CE, the Emperor Constantine established the Eastern Roman Empire with its capital at Constantinople. Although the 363 earthquake destroyed half of the city, it appears that Petra retained its urban vitality into late antiquity, when it was the seat of a Byzantine bishopric. The newly excavated Petra church with its papyrus scrolls document this period, especially in The Colonnaded the sixth century, a phenomenon less well-attested in other sites so far south of 'Amman. In this period there is also striking Street archaeological and documentary evidence for accommodation between Christians and the pagan aristocracy. Thereafter one can read the archaeology of a fragmented middle Byzantine community living among and re-using the abandoned limestone and sandstone elements of its classical past. The inhabitants during the Byzantine Period recycled many standing structures and rock-cut monuments, while also constructing their own buildings, including churches — such as the recently excavated Petra Church with the extraordinary mosaics. Among the rock-cut monuments they reused is the great tomb or the Ad-Dayr (known also as 'The Monastery'), which was modified into a church. With a change in trade routes, Petra's commercial decline was inevitable. An even more devastating earthquake had a severe impact on the city in 551 CE, and all but brought the city to ruin. With the rise of Islam, Petra became a backwater community. Petra was revealed to the western world in 1812 for the first time since the Crusades when it was re-discovered by the Swiss explorer Johann Ludwig Burckhardt. Past Excavations As one of the most spectacular sites in the Middle East, Petra has long attracted travelers and explorers. During the 19th century, the site was visited and documented by several Europeans, after J. L. Burckhardt’s initial visit. A synthesis of the site was published by Libbey and Hoskins in 1905, presenting one of the first overviews in print. Archaeological excavations began in earnest at the turn of the century, with the earliest scientific expedition being published in Arabia Petraea in 1907, by A. Musil. In the 1920's R. E. Brünnow and A. von Domaszewski surveyed the site and published an ambitious mapping project in their Die Provincia Arabia. This survey has since undergone many necessary revisions, the most recent of which was published by Judith McKenzie in 1990. Modern excavations continue to increase our understanding of the An early site and correct the work of earlier scholars. In 1958, P. J. Parr and C. M. Bennett of the British School of Archaeology began an photograph of excavation of the city center which remains the most informative and the Treasury scientific to date. Recently, the Petra/Jerash Project, undertaken by the Jordanian Department of Antiquities, the University of Jordan, the University of Utah, and Swiss archaeologists, have excavated a number of monuments at these two sites. Architectural remains now visible at Petra indicate a thriving city, however, despite almost 100 years of excavation, only one-percent of the city been investigated. The Great Temple was first explored by Brünnow and von Domaszewski, but it was Bachmann, in his revision of the Petra city plan, who postulated the existence of a “Great Temple,” aligned with the Colonnade Street, lying on the hillside to the south. He speculated that the temple was approached through a monumental Propylaeum with a grand staircase leading into a colonnaded, terraced Lower Temenos, or sacred precinct. Another broad monumental stairway led to a second, Upper Temenos. At its center was the temple, with yet another flight of stairs leading into the temple proper. While no standing structures were revealed before these excavations, the site is littered with architectural fragments, including column drums, probably toppled by one of the earthquakes which rocked the site. Given the promise of the Great Temple precinct and its importance in understanding Petra’s architectural and intercultural history, it is remarkable that it remained unexcavated until 1993 when the Brown University investigations began. MACHU PICCHU Nowadays it is a Historic National Sanctuary, protected by the Peruvian Government by means of Law Nº 001.81.AA of 1981, that tries to conserve the geological formations and archaeological remains inside the Sanctuary, besides protecting its flora, fauna and landscape's beauty. The whole park has an extension of 32,592 Has.; that is 80,535 acres(325.92 km²; 125.83 mile²). Machupicchu (the Inkan City) is located on kilometer 112 (70 miles) of the Qosqo-Quillabamba railway; the train station is known as "Puente Ruinas" and lies at an altitude of 2000 mts (6560 ft.). From that station there are buses in order to get to South-America's most famous Archaeological Group that is found at an average altitude of 2450 mts (8038 ft.), and at 13°09'23'' of South Latitude and 72°32'34'' of West Longitude. The climate in that sector has also some characteristics that are found all over the region; thus, only two well defined seasons are distinguished: the rainy season between September to April, and the dry season from May to August. Nevertheless, Machupicchu is found by the commencement of the Cusquenian Amazonian Jungle, so the chance of having rains or showers is latent by any time of the year. In the hottest days it is possible to get even about 26° Celsius (78.8° Fahrenheit), while that in the coldest early mornings in June and July the temperature may drop to -2° C. (28.4° F); the average annual temperature is 16 degrees Celsius. Annually, there is an average of rains from 1571 mm. (61 in.) to 2381 millimeters (93 in.). It is obvious that the monthly relative humidity is in direct relationship to rains, so the humidity average is from 77% during the dry months to 91% in the rainy months. The Machupicchu Historic National Sanctuary is found over a great granite orogenic structure baptized by Dr. Isaiah Bowman as the " Vilcapampa Batholith" that outcrops over about 400 km² (154 mile²). Its formation belongs in the scale of geological time to the Paleozoic or Inferior Primary and may have an approximate age of 250 million years. The Vilcapampa Batholith's white-gray granite is an intrusive igneous rock (magma cooled off in great profundities inside the earth); it is mainly compound in average by 60% of feldspar, 30% of quartz, and a 10% of mica. That granite has interlaced equigranular texture and possesses from 6° to 7° of hardness in the MOHS scale with a resistance of 1200 Kg/cm². Likewise, in this region there are some other rocks corresponding to the Inferior Paleozoic; such as schist, quartzite and metamorphic conglomerations that might have an age from 350 to 450 million years. Machupicchu (like most of the Quechua names of towns and different sites in the region) is a compound word that comes from machu = old or ancient, and picchu = peak or mountain; therefore, Machupicchu is translated as "Old Mountain". The famous mountain that is seen in front, and appears in most of the classical views of the site is named Waynapicchu (Young Mountain). Unfortunately the original names of the mentioned sectors are lost, Machupicchu, Waynapicchu and some other proper names used today are contemporary ones; ascribed probably by farmers living in the region before Bingham's arrival. However, according to studies about some XVI century documents, the original name of the whole area might be "Picchu". It is known that Hiram Bingham, a descendant of missionaries, was the man who found Machupicchu for the contemporary world and modern science. He was a North-American historian born in Honolulu, Hawaii; who in 1907 taught the South-American History and Geography course in Yale University. Later he was chosen as delegate of his country to the First Pan-American Scientific Congress carried out in Chile in 1908. By that epoch he began his activities as explorer taking a horseback journey from Caracas to Bogota, following the Simon Bolivar's way. Then he followed the old colonial trade way from Buenos Aires to Lima, arriving to this Andean zone in 1909; it is in that year when from Abancay he started with his first exploration towards Choquekirau, trying to find the last Inkan Capital. By that time many myths had been created about the possibility of finding the "Inkas' treasures" that according to tradition had been taken by Manko Inka is his retreat to Willkapanpa (willka = sacred, panpa = plain; its Spanish form is "Vilcabamba"); thus it was so common by that epoch to find treasure hunters willing to get to this last Inkas' dwelling. That same intention moved Bingham to study chronicles and even to visit Spanish archives, and subsequently in 1911 to come back to Peru with the aim of performing studies of geology and botany, and for sure, also in order to try finding Willkapanpa. In Qosqo, Albert Giesecke, a compatriot of his and rector of the local University had put him in touch with Braulio Polo y la Borda, owner of Mandor. That local landlord told Bingham that on the hill in front of his property there were ancient constructions covered by vegetation where cattle were frequently lost; and moreover, he introduced Bingham to Eduardo Lizarraga, a farmland renter living in the area since the 70s of the 19th century, who had seen the buildings. On July 23, 1911 Bingham showed up in Mandor along with a policeman, Sergeant Carrasco, who escorted him by order of Qosqo's Prefect Juan Jose Nuñez. They found in his hut the peasant Melchor Arteaga who told Bingham about the existence of two Inkan sites named Machupicchu and Waynapicchu; that same peasant was hired by Bingham to be the guide in order to get to the Inkan City. The next day, after examining the field they decided to climb up by the sector where nowadays is the zigzagging road. After noon they arrived at another hut where they found Anacleto Alvarez and Toribio Recharte; they were two humble peasants who along with their families lived in the area and cultivated the pre-Hispanic farming terraces. After a short break, they provided a boy as the guide for Bingham in order to have a first look of the Inkan buildings that were completely covered with entangled vegetation. That was how Bingham, at 35 years old, stumbled onto Machupicchu; a fortuitous happening that made manifest a great "discovery". Later he continued with his trip arriving even as far as Rosaspata, Ñust'a Hisp'ana, Pampaconas and Espiritu Pampa; places that apparently did not attract the explorer so much. Almost immediately after his first exploration, he went back to the USA looking for economic support that was granted to him by the Yale University and the National Geographic Society. Subsequently, the Peruvian government in Lima facing Bingham's request in order to execute works in Machupicchu, by means of law given on October 31, 1912, authorized him to carry out his projected works. Besides, according to the fourth article of that authorization Bingham could freely take out of the country all the obtained pieces during his explorations, but with commitment of giving them back to Peru's simple petition. Authorization in the name of "international etiquette" that infringed some legal rules and caused irreparable damage to Peru's cultural heritage. According to our history, in 1536 Manko Inka or Manko II began the war against the Spanish invaders, carrying out the famous siege of the city in which Manko was on the point of getting his final victory. But, after 8 months of bloody war he was defeated by the Spaniards and their allied tribes (old enemies of the Inkas). The retreat was unavoidable and Manko dissolved the gross of his army so that soldiers could take care of their families and devote their time to agriculture. Manko Inka beat a retreat towards Vilcabamba (Willkapanpa) following the Chinchero way and passing through Ollantaytambo where he won a victorious battle over the Spaniards; and finally he went deeply into the jungle, establishing thus his new operations center. The bloody war between Inkas and Spaniards continued. Manko was murdered in 1545 by some Diego de Almagro (a partner of Pizarro and the conquest) followers that were fugitives to whom the Inka had heathenly welcomed after their defeat and sentence to death for having assassinated Francisco Pizarro in Lima and for having rebelled against the established colonial order. Manko was succeeded by his son Sayri Tupaq who was persuaded by some of his relatives from Qosqo (faithful to the Spanish crown) to agree upon with the vice royal authority. He traveled to Lima and had a meeting with the Viceroy that conceded him some privileges and the Oropesa Marquisate that comprised lands in the present-day districts of Yucay, Urubamba, Maras and Chinchero. Apparently satisfied, he constructed his adobe palace in Yucay but died in 1560, perhaps poisoned by Quechuas opposing the agreement with the invaders. After Sayri Tupaq's death, his brother Titu Kusi Yupanki assumed the power. The new Inka dwelling in Vilcabamba also admitted political and religious committees from Qosqo and Lima in order to get an agreement with the Viceroy. In 1568 he was baptized in the Christian way and named Diego de Castro; by that time he died because of a sickness being then succeeded by his step brother Tupaq Amaru. Tupaq Amaru was too young and inexperienced and was advised by a group of veterans that saw in the conquerors their relentless enemy and continued their war. The viceroy ordered the Inka's capture sending an army of almost 300 soldiers, led by Martin Hurtado de Arbieto and captain Martin Garcia Oñaz de Loyola; they arrived to Vilcabamba giving different battles but the Inka and his family had quit even farther inside the forest. But finally the last Quechua Monarch was captured and taken to Qosqo along with his followers by the same Garcia Oñaz de Loyola (who later married Beatriz Coya, Tupaq Amaru's niece and heiress of the Oropesa Marquisate). After a quick judgment he was sentenced to death and subsequently decapitated in the great city's plaza before the cold glance of Viceroy Toledo on September 24, 1572. His remains were kept in the Santo Domingo Church; thus the last man of the Inkan dynasty was murdered, after 36 years of war willing to recover their Quechua nation. In 1911, Hiram Bingham believed that he had found Manko Inka's Vilcabamba in Machupicchu; that is demonstrated wrong today because the exact location of that city and some other sites stated in chronicles are already known. On the other hand, today it is frequently asked how 150 or 180 Spaniards, the first ones who arrived here, could conquer so easily the Inkan Civilization that had from 12 to 16 million people; what is true, is that it was not a consequence of their physical power neither of their privileged wisdom, but simply because when the invaders arrived here there was a bloody civil war. Qosqo was always Tawantinsuyo's capital, its legitimate monarch was Thupa Kusi Wallpaq, whom history knows as Waskar Inka who had a step brother named Atawallpa that wanted to usurp power moving himself to Tumipanpa in present day Cuenca, Ecuador, where he crowned himself as the new Inka. Atawallpa was willing to overthrow his step brother, who after some battles was seized in October, 1532; subsequently, the Spaniards arrived to the Peruvian coasts and in November entered into the city of Cajamarca. Spaniards seized Atawallpa who from his imprisonment ordered to murder Waskar and all the Cusquenian "orejones" ("big eared people" = the Inkan nobility). As soon as they were told about the happenings, the Spaniards blamed and sued Atawallpa and imposed the death sentence upon him. After having murdered Atawallpa, they went towards Qosqo, where they were welcomed believing that they were avengers of the Inkan Capital because they had murdered its enemy. Moreover, they were considered as gods because they were so different, had white skin, beard, fire weapons, horses; and even, Quechuas believed that horse and Spaniard were a single being, able to split into two. Besides, it was also believed that they were divinities because there was an old myth that stated that the Inkas' gods had to arrive by ship, exactly how Spaniards did. Because of all those reasons they were accepted and welcomed in the Quechuas' Capital. Its inhabitants made them know everything they had, their palaces, temples, towns and cities; but, by that time no one said anything about Machupicchu because it seems that it was a very special and secret city or otherwise it was already lost and forgotten. The archaeological evidences state a total Spanish absence, there are no influences in pottery or architecture, and the "idolatry extirpators" (Catholic priests) did not destroy its temples as it happened in every spot known by Spaniards; thus it is supposed that Spaniards did not arrive and perhaps did not know anything about Machupicchu. Because of its location strategically established for its protection, because of its number of temples and their architectonic quality, because of the small amount of "kanchas" (apartments for extended families), and because of the several characteristics that Machupicchu presents: originally, it was a regional power center dependent from Qosqo. That is, it was a small religious and political capital. Surely, it served as a dwelling for the Inka or any high ranked dignitary from the Capital, as well as for a selected nobility that had the privilege of having an "Aqllawasi" that was something like a monastery for "Chosen Women" or "Virgins of the Sun" devoted to cult and for service of its privileged population too. Most modern archaeologists and historians state that Machupicchu was made built and used by Inka Pachakuteq, who was the Tawantinsuyo's greatest statesman and ruled from 1438 to 1471, as his "Royal Farmstead". Scholars use for this assertion the chronological dating given by the carbon 14 or radiocarbon, its doubtless "Imperial Inka" architectonic style, the predominant ceramic pieces, and some other scientifically valid facts. Even more, the archaeological evidences discard totally any possibility of pre-Inkan settlements in this region. According to the buildings that are found in the Inkan City, the population during its apogee is calculated to have been about 1000 people. According to the mummies found by the Bingham expedition about 80% of the Machupicchu population were women; that is the strong support to assert that over here existed an important "Aqllawasi" (House of Chosen Women), chosen among the prettiest and most virtuous, they were considered as the Sun's wives. Many modern scholars suggest that a large part of them were the Inka's wives too, considering that he was the son of the Sun; therefore, a living god. Thus the Inka lived in his property, along with his wives. It was normal for the Inka to have hundreds of concubines, and for example, our history states that Wayna Qhapaq who was father of Waskar and Atawallpa had more than 400 children. Nevertheless, his main wife must have been a sister of his; only that way they could keep the "solar blood" that they supposedly had. The throne heir had to be a son of the Inka and his sister. Today, the reasons that led to depopulation of the Inkan City are unknown; although, some hypothetical reasons that are in a logical frame are outlined. It is believed that once there was a very bad epidemic that led to the abandonment of the city built in a humid zone with an abundance of different insects. Even until the first decades of this century different epidemics were reported frequently in this area, especially malaria; today several chemical products are being used in order to fumigate the environment, so the sanitation conditions were modified. Another possibility suggests that it had to be abandoned and closed after the death of the sovereign who built and used the city. Another hypothetical reason indicates that once the Antis (name of the "Andes" mountains comes from "Antis" = jungle tribes living in the Amazonian Forest), the worst enemies of the Inkas, arrived to this spot where they carried out a huge slaughter; the city was abandoned afterwards. What is evident is that the Inkan City was closed, abandoned and forgotten even until the first years of the XXth century. Today, in a simple way Machupicchu is divided in two main sectors: farming and urban. The Farming Sector is located just after entering from the tourist hotel; over here there are very broad artificial farming terraces; they are only some of all the ones existing in the region, as most of them are covered by thick vegetation. By the eastern end of the terraces there are five buildings that maybe served to house the farmers who cultivated this sector; those buildings are known as the " Farmers' Group" though Bingham called them "Outer Barracks". On the upper end of those terraces there is a small room having just 3 walls known as the " Watchman Post" constructed in a strategic place; from this point there is a broad view of the Urubamba canyon in two different directions. It is here, from where the Machupicchu classical pictures are taken. In the vicinity is the named "Funerary Rock" ; it is a loose boulder placed knowingly in that spot, carved as an altar with some steps and a ring. It is supposed to have served in order to carry out all the embalming process as well as for drying the mummies up. Nevertheless, it seems that this rock had also a certain relationship with solar observations. In the winter solstice, the sunlight is projected exactly towards this rock from "Intipunku" (Sun Gate) which is compounded by the buildings towards the east, on the pass, by the end of the Inka trail that is seen surrounding the Machupicchu Mountain. Further south from the "Funerary Rock" is the largest building in Machupicchu; it is a "Kallanka" that has 8 access openings on its front wall and 2 on the side ones. Because of its location near the trails, its dimensions and morphology, that building must have been a sort of " Tambo" and served as lodge for a large number of persons. Some authors name this building as "Headquarters" and some others as "Workshops". Passing from the farming sector to the urban one there is a great " Dry Moat" that served to protect it. Machupicchu was a very exclusive city and its population selected among the nobility, therefore, it had a very effective security and protective system. Crossing the Dry Moat is the Urban Sector; even farther is the "Fountains Street" containing 16 Liturgical Fountains. In the Inkan Society the water was always considered as a special deity, therefore, there were normally fountains and reservoirs for its cult. The main fountain is located in front of a building having just three walls that in the Inkan Architecture is named "Wayrana" that is supposed to be a ceremonial center from where the "Willaq Uma" (High Priest) had to carry out diverse ceremonies in order to worship the water. Today, water does not flow through the channels any more simply because the tourist hotel is using it; originally the water was harnessed from a spring located behind the Machupicchu mountain; the channel came aside and along the Inka trail going towards Intipunku. Nearby, is the "Sun Temple" that was a complex originally very well protected. In Inkan times only the priests and the Inka could use those temples; thus, they remained closed and protected. Common people had popular ceremonies in open areas or plazas like the one in Machupicchu or Qosqo. The entrance into the Sun Temple is through a magnificent double jamb doorway, that on its interior surface shows its security system with a stone ring over the lintel where the wooden door must have been hung, and the two stakes inside small carved boxes in the interior jambs where the door's crossing bar was tied. The temple itself was built over a huge "in-situ" boulder. It has a semicircular floor plan; its rear wall is straight and the whole temple is built with the "Imperial Inkan" architectonic type, that is, with rectangular faced stones with perfect joints. The semicircular wall has two windows; one of them faces towards the east and the other towards the north. According to modern scientists those two windows constitute the most important solar observatory in Machupicchu; in the window facing east it is possible to fix accurately the winter solstice measuring the shade projections on the central rock. Both windows have projecting carved fake beams surrounding their outside face; they surely served in order to support elements that made solar observations easier. In the center of the temple there is an "in-situ" carved rock altar that served to carry out diverse ceremonies honoring the Sun; it is over here where animal sacrifices were executed, so that analyzing their hearts, lungs and viscera, the priests could foretell the future. It is also here where the Inka had to symbolically drink "chicha" (maize beer) along with his father the Sun. The straight rear wall has a window with small carved holes on its threshold that tradition knows as the "Snake Window" (name given by Bingham). The holes are very similar to those found in the Temple of the Stars in Qosqo's Qorikancha that according to Garcilaso kept ornaments of precious metals and stones; possibly also over here those holes had the same duty. The straight walls of the temple have trapezoidal niches in their interior faces; they were used to keep different idols and offerings. Some authors indicate that originally this temple had a thatched conical roof, and they name it as "Suntur Wasi", "Military Tower", etc. Under the "Sun Temple" there is an interesting small cave known as the " Royal Tomb"; it was named that by Bingham believing that it could shelter the mummy of a Cusquenian nobleman or possibly that of an Inka; but he wrote that nothing was found inside it. The relationship would be logical: the Inka buried under his father's temple. Without any doubt that small cave must have been related to the Ukju Pacha (underground world) and the cult of dead people. Inside the small cave, on the right side wall there are two large trapezoidal niches with projecting fake stone beams by the height of their lintels, and two smaller niches on the deeper wall. On the floor, there is a carving with a "stepping symbol" representing the three levels of the Andean Religious World. In the Inkan Society all the corpses were mummified in a fetal position with the only difference being that mummies of noblemen were kept in temples while those of common people were buried or placed in cemeteries. Inside the Sun Temple complex, there is also a two story construction known by some authors as the " Ñusta's Inclosure" (ñusta = princess) and as the Priest's by some others. Because of its location in the complex it must had a close relationship with the Temple and possibly it was the dwelling for the Willaq Uma (High Priest). Crossing the street, in front of the Sun Temple is the " Royal Group". It is a classical "kancha" (an apartment for an extended family); it is the only one that is found in the area and the only one that is very solid and built with carved stones. There is no doubt that it was the Inka's dwelling. The group has two big rooms and two small "wayranas" around a central patio. The eastern room is known as the bedroom and inside it, its southern portion is divided with carved stones forming the "bed", the Inka might have slept on that corner over some blankets woven in vicuna wool. On the northern end of the room there is a very small compartment that people have baptized as the "bathroom", which is unusual because bathrooms are not normally found inside the apartments. The room that stands in front is known as the ruler's "studio"; and the two small "wayranas" on two opposing sides were probably used as kitchen and workshop. Almost by the middle of the central patio there is a carved stone that served as a mortar in order to grind grains or some other goods. Leaving the group through its only entrance (today there is another way out behind the "studio" that was opened to help tourists walk around), in the small and narrow passage, towards the right side and about two meters high is a protruding carved stone as a fake beam that has a hole in the middle. It must have served to hold ceremonial elements and perhaps an "aryballus" (classic Inkan jar having a sharp-pointed base) of "chicha" (maize beer). Going up the stone stairs is the "Quarry" or " Granitic Chaos" sector, where there are amorphous granite boulders; it is suggested that they were being exploited slowly. All the mountains around the Inkan City have the same quality of rocks; that is, white-gray granite of the Vilcabamba Batholith. Therefore, the rocks were in the place and were not transported from the valley's bottom as some authors pretended to state. In this sector there is a partially broken rock frequently pointed out by local guides; that is not a genuine Inkan work but simply a sample of the technique used by that age in order to split stones, it was made in 1953. When magma was cooled off in order to form granites, there was also a crystallizing process by which those rocks show always natural nerves (faults or lines) on their surfaces; they were located by the Quechua stonemasons who made holes along them. Those holes were filled up with wooden wedges that were then soaked; thus, using expansion or swelling of soaked wood they could split the rocks. By the start of this book there is a chapter about the techniques and tools used in Inkan stonemasonry. From the quarry, it is possible to go up by the stone stairway towards the southeast in order to get the sector named as " Superior Group" (some historians name this sector as that of the "Main City Gate", or of the "Yachaywasi" -school-). In this sector there are many constructions with "pirka" type walls that apparently served as public buildings, among which there are some "Qollqas" (storehouses). In this sector is the Machupicchu's Main City Gate that was the only entrance by the southeastern part of the city. The main gate of Machupicchu was very well protected in order to allow the entrance of just its exclusive population; in the interior face of that doorway it is also possible to see its locking system with the stone ring over the lintel and the two stakes inside the small carved boxes in the jambs. Towards the quarry's west is the "Sacred Plaza" (Holy Group), where in its western end is the " Main Temple" (Chief Temple); it is a "Wayrana" type Temple, that is, it has just three walls made with stones that have rectangular faces and perfect snug joints, with the "Imperial Inkan" wall type. The Main Temple shows seven trapezoidal niches on its central wall and five on each of the lateral ones. In front of it, about 8 meters ahead and close to the "Three Window Temple" is a huge boulder partially carved that must have been its central pillar for supporting the roof beams; today some guides call that rock "sacrificial altar". Nowadays the Main Temple has its central wall broken moving towards the northeast; archaeological works demonstrated that it is a displacement due to rain filtering. Although, some geologists suggest that it is due to a geological fault passing across this spot; they indicate even more, that there is another fault across the Sun Temple. The deity worshipped in this Main Temple is unknown, though, historians argue that it could be Wiraqocha, the Andean invisible superior god. In front of this Temple's south side-wall there is a small outcrop of carved stone that according to some authors it is a representation of the Southern Cross, which is not categorically proved. On the northern end of the "Sacred Plaza" is the " Temple of Three Windows", it only has three walls and when in use it had a two-slope roof; its stones are polygonal, and comparatively it must have been earlier or less important than the "Main Temple". The evidences indicate that this temple was originally projected for having five windows; it seems that the two end windows were walled up once the Temple was finished. In the central part of what would be the front wall is a single stone pillar that served to support the thatched roof, and on its western side is a carved stone with steps representing the three levels of the Andean World: the "Hanan-Pacha" (heaven), the "Kay- Pacha" (earth surface) and the "Ukju-Pacha" (underground). The existence of this Temple made Bingham believe that he had found the mythical "Tampu T'oqo" so this was where the Inkan Civilization was originated; all that is demonstrated wrong today. In front of the "Main Temple" there is a room having two doorways and "pirka" type rough walls that today is named as the " Priest's House"; which is probable because of the architectonic contrast with the surrounding buildings, as the quality of walls is in direct relationship to the importance of every building. Behind the "Main Temple" is a small room of excellent quality that is known as " Ornaments Chamber"; because of its location it must have kept a close complementary relationship to the Temple. Inside it, in the lower part of the rear wall there is an unusual low platform like a stone seat or couch; more over, there are two very impressive polygonal boulders in both sides of the entrance that have more that 30 angles each. Some people with very westernized or Catholic influence call this room the " Sacristy" of the Main Temple. From the "Holy Plaza", towards the northwest is a stairway that rises conducting directly to the " Intiwatana" group, which seen from far away has the shape of an irregular interrupted pyramid that Bingham named "Sacred Hill". It is impressive how the whole sector was adapted to the shape of the natural hill. Surrounding the hill, there are many narrow terraces that are not necessarily farming ones but served in order to stop erosion and protect the "Intiwatana". Almost always those narrow terraces were also used as gardens, that is, with an ornamental purpose; they have no irrigation systems as in the farming ones (excepting the farming terraces in Machupicchu that are in a very humid area making aqueducts unnecessary). Thus, according to their duty, it is possible to identify three terrace types: farming, protective, and ornamental. Before arriving to the top of the hill, on the right side of the stairway there is a ring carved on a rock that is encrusted in the wall; it possibly served in order to support an insignia or flag kept by a spear; old accounts suggest that it was something common in platforms like this. The eastern top of the natural formation was flattened artificially in order to be used as an "Usnu", that is, a special platform from which the Machupicchu chiefs could talk to their people who were standing up on the Main Plaza located in the lower part towards the northeast. The communication was facilitated by the high location of the platform from which there is no interference, and by the sonority reached by human voice that is apparently reflected and amplified when colliding with the opposing terraces. In the central part of that "Sacred Hill" there are vestiges of finely finished buildings with their classical trapezoidal openings; around here, there is an apparently non carved natural rock that is suggested to be a vestige of a Machupicchu model; curiously, the shape of that rock has many coincidences with the local geography. By the top of the hill is the famous carved rock named as "Intiwatana", its shape is irregular (polygonal) finishing with an almost cubic polyhedron on which the top has signs of having been hit. Originally, all the faces of this boulder must have been finely polished; possibly the same way as the Main Temple in Ollantaytambo, that is, it had a smooth surface almost as glass. Moreover, it must have had other auxiliary elements for its use. The word "Intiwatana" labeling carved stones like this was first used by George Squier in 1877; that name is not found in any ancient chronicle. The correct names would be "saywa" or "sukhanka" that were used by chroniclers. "Intiwatana" is translated as the "place where the sun is tied up" or simply "sun fastener". The day of the winter solstice (June 21st) the Quechuas had to perform the "Inti Raymi" (Sun Festivity) that was the biggest celebration of the Inkan Society. In this date, the sun is located in the farthest point from the earth or vice versa, thus the Quechuas believed that their "Tayta Inti" (Father Sun) was abandoning them. They had to perform different rituals in order to ask the sun not to move away any more and symbolically they had to tie it up to the "Intiwatana". However, "Intiwatana" could also have another sense, since "Inti" is "sun" and "Wata" is "year", it could be translated as the "place where the solar year is measured". It is unquestionable that it served as an efficient solar observatory through measurement of the projected shadows, enabling thus fixing solstices and equinoxes; therefore, calculating the different seasons and the 365 day year. Referring to this stone as a "solar clock" or "sun dial", or other similar names, is wrong and results from bad speculation. The Inkas did not need to measure the day in hours or minutes, therefore, they did not know how to do it. Many scholars suggest that the "Intiwatanas" also served as directional pegs in which protrusions or determined angles the magnetic north and south may be found; all that is true in Q'enqo, near Qosqo, and over here in Machupicchu where one angle of the carved rock and the polyhedron base indicate the magnetic north. The astronomers White, Dearborn and Mannheim, state that from this complex it is possible to have observations of the pleiades, very important for Andean farming, and constellations like the Southern Cross, Spica - Alpha and Beta Centaurs, Vega, Deneb and Altair. Local scholars indicate that Machupicchu's Intiwatana is closely related to a regional "ceque" system (an imaginary alignment of observatories and temples) that includes surrounding mountains and valleys. According to Cusquenian archaeologists Valencia and Gibaja, "All these elements affirm the idea that the Machupicchu's Intiwatana sculpted rock, is a cosmic and ritual axle of great religious and tonic meaning, clearly associated with some other points, that determine important ceremonial axles in Inkan times". Going down by the stairway towards the Intiwatana's northwest is the north end of Machupicchu, where the " Sacred Rock" is found. It is a small complex where there are two very similar "wayranas", one in front of the other and with "pirka" type walls. They served as temples or altars for worshipping the "Sacred Rock" that stands towards the northeast, by the middle of them. The "Sacred Rock" is a natural projection of the mountain and stands surrounded by a stone pedestal, its surface is relatively smooth and was possibly also finely polished like the Ollantaytambo boulders, but erosion of 4 or more centuries of abandonment changed the surface polish and even its whole shape. In the Inkan Religion it is believed that the mountains constitute or have "apus" (superior spirits) considered as peoples' protectors (today mountains are still worshipped in the Andean Religion). Many scholars believe that the "Sacred Rock" is simply the representation of the Yanantin Mountain, standing behind it. In ancient times the silhouettes of the rock and mountain were identic, but today they are almost similar due to the natural erosion over the rock. However, some authors argue that the rock must had another shape, possibly that of a "Lying Puma" or a "Guinea Pig". Behind this rock, in 1911 Bingham found the writing "A. Lizarraga 1901". Towards the north of this complex is the trail leading to the Waynapicchu Mountain and towards the Southeast is the city's Main Plaza. The " Main Plaza" is the biggest open and flat space existing in Machupicchu, it is towards the northeast and by the feet of the "Intiwatana". It was the place where the population's popular ceremonies were carried out; perhaps also the "Inti Raymi" or Sun Festivity like as in Qosqo's Main Square. Nearby this plaza there are terraces that did not have a farming duty but served simply to flatten the terrain; in the totally irregular Machupicchu's topography, that was the only way to achieve flat spaces. In Machupicchu's eastern area, toward the northeast of the Main Plaza there are many other buildings with "pirka" type walls (with rough mud-bonded stones); the buildings layout in this area is somewhat complex, and includes sectors that are differently named, such as " Higher Group", " Three Doorway Unit", etc. Those are basically buildings that served as apartments, storehouses, and some other utilitarian duties. Towards the east of this complex are interesting buildings with different altars, semi-underground buildings, sculpted stones with diverse shapes, etc., about which there are not deep interpretative studies yet. By this zone there is also an interesting cave containing a partially carved window named Intimachay that was studied by Dearborn who argues that from inside the cave it is possible to see just 2° of horizon through the window that is aligned with the sunrise in the summer solstice (December 21st). The 2° margin enabled the solstice observation during 10 days before and after the event, a lapse that was necessary in the case of a cloudy and rainy zone like Machupicchu. Even farther to the southeast of the previous sector is the named " Mortars Group", to which some authors name the " Industrial Sector". The architectonic quality of its walls indicate that it had a serious importance in the city; Bingham named it as "Ingenuity Group". This was apparently a very exclusive group because it has a double jamb doorway and inside, it still has the door locking system with two small carved boxes and their stone stakes. From the floor to about two meters high, the walls were made with sculpted stones, but the superior part was made with rougher ones; that difference suggests perhaps a construction in two different stages. Inside that group there is a room having two circular "mortars", both having almost the same diameter and carved on a granite outcrop in the floor. Some historians suggest that those were mortars used in order to grind diverse elements for making weavings or pottery in the sector that was "industrial"; though, the mortars do not appear to have had much use. Others indicate that those were seats for "aryballus" (pointed base jars) containing "chicha" (maize beer). Likewise it is suggested that they were filled up with water in order to serve as "mirrors" for astral observations during clear nights, alleging that this enclosure was not roofed; but according to many modern astronomers that is a weak possibility because it is more practical to observe the sky directly and not using mirrors. Towards the south of the previous room there is a very interesting building compound of two identical "wayranas" or rooms having just three walls that share one central dividing wall; instead of their front wall they present a column that supported the roof beams. In this complex there are also some other rooms having the same quality, sculpted rocks looking like altars, etc. One of the most fascinating and enigmatic sectors in Machupicchu is that of the "Condor" located toward the southeast of the "mortars". The "Temple of the Condor" form something like a labyrinth where in its lower and central portion there is a sculpture on a granite outcrop with the shape of an Andean Condor having a beak, the classic white collar around its neck and its whole body. Behind, there are two huge rocks surrounding it; they represent its wings, giving the impression of being a landing condor. It is obvious that this was a sacred spot built on purpose in order to worship the "Apu Kuntur" (Condor God) that was one of the three sacred animals of the Inkan Society along with the Puma (cougar or mountain lion) and the Snake; therefore its duty was strictly religious. The Andean Condor was and still is a special divinity on the Andes highlands, but the ceremonies carried out to worship it in ancient times are unknown. However, today the Andean people of some concealed villages in the highlands of Peru annually carry out their festivity called "Yawar Fiesta" or "Blood Festivity" (see chapter of Andean Condor) in which a living Condor is worshipped in a very special way. On the other hand, some other authors suggest that over here was Machupicchu's "Jail". It is argued that in this place there were pumas and perhaps also snakes, so those who were punished were left inside and had to die inexorably; after those persons died, over here landed Condors and some other birds of prey to devour the remains of the punished fellows. It is argued that over here existed two types of punishment and that the niches with small holes on their jambs that are found over the Condor's left wing served for tying the hands of those punished (those niches were originally covered with a roof). Moreover, it is argued that the other higher niches in the rear wall that have a small back opening served for another different punishment: the "walling in" of punished fellows, who were inserted and walled up inside the niches with their faces towards the upper openings that served them in order to breath and consume food. In Inkan times this sector was complementary to the "Temple of the Condor"; and because of its location and its multiple characteristics this complex must have carried out a highly ritual duty and not that of a "jail". Hiram Bingham and his teams worked intensively in Machupicchu and the whole archaeological park during 5 years, digging practically every square meter. In its surroundings they found ancient tombs, mummies and remains of 173 persons always enclosed along with their daily life belongings; including clothing, pottery, food, ornaments, etc. After all his works Bingham informed that no artifact of precious metal was found in Machupicchu; that which today is refuted by the Agustin Lizarraga's widow and descendants who assert that the intrepid young peasant established in the area before Bingham's arrival, discovered Machupicchu during his explorations looking for farming lands by the year 1900. They say that Lizarraga arrived to this lost city using the trail that leads from the San Miguel zone to the "Holy Plaza" and that in his successive visits found in some niches objects of ceramic, stone, gold and silver. Objects that he sold to a well known rich merchant in Qosqo. That could be true because of the "crude charcoal autographs" found by Bingham on the beautiful granite walls including the writing "A. Lizarraga 1901" behind the "Sacred Rock"; and as the same North-American explorer when describing a grave wrote: "We know that Lizarraga had been treasure hunting on these forest-clad slopes at least ten years before our visit...". Once that Lizarraga died "in very strange circumstances" in 1912, he left for his widow some treasures that she donated to the Santa Clara convent in Qosqo, after being in Catholic confession persuaded by the priest so that with her donation she could get "peace and salvation for her soul". It is possible that no peasant other than Lizarraga could have had profaned the site because in the traditional Andean Society there is always a profound ancestral respect and reverence towards ancient "Wakas". There is much more respect for the ancestors' tombs that can not be profaned believing that they are protected and profaning them brings misfortune, diseases, death and some other maledictions. Bingham wrote that every object he got when working in Machupicchu was deposited in Yale University. But today (1997) a visit to observe the Machupicchu's artifacts in Yale's "Peabody Museum of Natural History" located in New Haven, Connecticut, is more than disappointing (Click here to go to the museum website). The exhibit consists of 10 pieces of Inka pottery, 10 of metallurgy, 10 of stonework, 3 wooden cups, very few textiles, and one of the nicest Inkan "qhipu" existing in the world (most of the pieces are from Machupicchu, not all of them but the exhibit does not tell which ones; even more, not even a single picture of Machupicchu!). Besides, there are small niches displaying mainly pottery of pre-Inkan Civilizations. Peruvians hope that someday, the artifacts listed by Bingham in his various publications will be returned to Machupicchu where they belong. The Waynapicchu Mountain is that found towards the north of the city and which appears in the background of Machupicchu's classical pictures. By its summit there are some retaining terraces that were made for avoiding erosion as well as for serving as gardens. It is possible to get to the summit using the path that is located by the left flank of the mountain. The way up was basically a long stairway; in various sectors its steps were simply carved on the mountain rock. Climbing up slowly takes one hour approximately, and it is not dangerous; however, the person that tries it must keep his eyes open since the path is by the edge of precipices and some carelessness or a wrong step could be fatal, and whoever attempts it must not suffer from vertigo. From the summit, there is a spectacular panoramic view of the Inkan City, of the Urubamba canyon and the mountains around; it seems that over here existed a very important Quechua sanctuary. From Machupicchu it is also possible to take some other short walks. One of them is towards the " Inkan Bridge" for which, it is necessary to reach the small "Watchman Post" located on the upper area of the farming sector; from that spot there is a trail towards the southwest. After about 20 minutes of walking one gets to the present-day end of the path, from where there is a view of the trail carved on the mountain-face as well as of the bases of a draw bridge. It is supposed that the draw bridge structure was of light wood that was removed or saved in order to avoid trespassing of non authorized persons; thus they enabled the protection of Machupicchu. Somewhat lower than the same "Watchman Post" is the Inka Trail that originally joined Machupicchu with Qosqo; that trail is a good sample of the Quechua engineering and construction technology, it still keeps its original pavement of flagstones and it is very wide. When following it, after about 1.5 miles is the pass named Intipunku (Sun Gate), and even farther, about 7 Kms. (4.4 miles) away from Machupicchu is the small Inkan town of Wiñaywayna. Around there, in a higher level is the farming complex of Intipata. CHICHEN ITZA The ancient Maya ruins of Chichén Itzá, located on Mexico's Yucatán Peninsula about 50 miles inland south of the Caribbean coastline, represent the remains of one of the largest and most powerful city states of the pre-Columbian Americas. While the fully- restored monumental core of Chichén Itzá's archaeological zone covers approximately 5 square kilometers and is one of the most popular tourist attractions in the world, the estimated extent of dense urban development at the city's peak is thought to have reached 25 square kilometers. However, much of these surrounding ruins are unexcavated and are currently covered with a mixture of dense forest and farms. Chichén Itzá translates as "At the Mouth of the Well of the Itza" in Yucatec Mayan, a reference to the nearby Sacred Cenote, or sinkhole, where offerings were made to various deities and from which the city derived much of its water supply. Chichén Itzá was a highly cosmopolitan city with a wide range of distinct architectural styles displayed in both its domestic buildings and major monuments. This range is reflective of both local Yucatecan styles and influence from several prominent Mesoamerican cultural groups and clans that were drawn to the city as a regional center during its long history of occupation. The civic heart of Chichén Itzá is surrounded by a boundary wall and was the ultimate destination of several long, broad stucco-paved roads (plurally known as Sacbeob) leading to surrounding population centers and other areas of importance. This central plaza is essentially an immense platform defined by three great building complexes surrounding it. The buildings along the Great Plaza are seemingly designed in such a manner as to pay homage to Kukulkan, the feathered serpent divinity also associated with a legendary king of the Toltecs who was broadly worshipped in Mexico. Kukulkan was alternatively known as Quetzalcoatl, a manifestation named and revered by the later Aztec empire up through the Spanish conquest. According to archaeologist Cynthia Kristan-Graham, many structures at the site reflect a concept of city planning known as a ‘Galactic Polity’; at Chichén Itzá, scale replicas of important buildings connect to their larger center by means of a specific Sacbe (ceremonial road). This pattern can be seen at archaeological site of Mayapan as well, which was constructed as a small-scale replica of Chichén Itzá’s monumental core. To the plaza's west side is the Great Ball Court, the largest in all of Mesoamerica at 154.8 meters in length and bounded by walls reaching over 9 meters in height. The Pyramid of Kukulkan, also known as El Castillo, is located to the south and reaches 30 meters in height with a base extending over 55 meters across. The Temple of the Warriors, located to the east, is a four-platform structure surrounded by 200 round and square columns with bas-relief carvings depicting individual warriors. This temple is very similar in design to the Temple of the Warriors in the Toltec city of Tula, over 1000 kilometers away in the northern Valley of Mexico. The Sacred Cenote is located along a wide stucco-paved Sacbe 300 meters to the north. Further to the south of Chichén Itzá's Great Plaza are located several smaller building complexes, primarily built in the elaborately-carved Puuc (Yucatec Mayan for Hills) architectural style common in nearby cities, such as Sayil and Uxmal. These building complexes date to the same time period as these cities. While the ceremonial monuments of the Great Plaza are primarily dedicated to the worship of Kukulkan, the constructions to the south are mainly dedicated to the Maya deity Chaak (or Chac), a curl-nosed divinity primarily associated with the bringing of rain; these structures embodied the value of water, as Chichén Itzá was located in a dry tropical forest environment where drought could easily bring widespread famine. Chichén Itzá contains a relatively wide range of roofing styles, which is unique for a Mayan archaeological site. The site includes rectangular beam-and-mortar structures such as the temple atop El Castillo, wooden or thatch ones such as the roof that probably rested atop El Mercado, and Mexican-styled round structures such as El Caracol. The majority of the structures, however, were built with the traditional Maya corbeled vault, which is a narrow vault made of courses of stone that are projected into an apex, creating a triangular archway. The Nunnery, so-called by the Spanish as they felt it resembled the convents of Spain, features carved stone latticework and Chaak masks decorating the upper facades and corners of the buildings. Nearby is the fascinating structure known as the Caracol, a stone structure round in plan, that originally generated a cylindrical shape with a domed roof, now partially ruined. Narrow windows cut into the outer walls seem to have been designed in order to observe the irregular movements of Venus, which was considered to be the sun's twin and held great significance for the Maya, particularly in decisions pertaining to war. The staircase at the front of the Caracol faces 27.5 degrees north of west, perfectly in line with the northern positional extreme of Venus and producing alignments at the building's northeast and southeast corners that track both the summer and winter solstices. The Caracol is one of the oldest standing observatories in the Americas, and highlights the great importance that astrological phenomena held for the people of Chichén Itzá. return to top History 3D model of El Castillo, an interpretation modeled from laser scan data Chichén Itzá's history as a major political center in the northern Yucatán is extensive, stretching from the Classic period well into the Post-Classic. Towards the beginning of the 7th century CE, during the beginning of the Late Classic, this Maya agricultural region saw increasing population density and the construction of some permanent structures, including the Puuc-styled Las Monjas (Nunnery) complex. It was during the 9th century, however, that the settlement began to turn into a city, and by the early 10th century, during the Terminal Classic, Chichén Itzá was a regional powerhouse. As this was happening, major Classic-period centers to the south in the central Maya lowlands, such as Tikal and Palenque, were undergoing the profound social and demographic shift popularly known as the Classic Maya Collapse. These cities gradually ceased to function as major centers and caused an exodus of people to migrate from the densely-populated central lowland area to other cities, such as those along the Gulf coasts and in the ancient Maya heartland in the volcanic highlands to the south. The region that received the greatest population expansion during the Terminal Classic period, however, are the northern lowlands of the Yucatán, where Chichén Itzá became the largest and most powerful city. With this influx of diverse populations, a powerful new ideology emerged at Chichén Itzá in the mid-9th century, combining elements of the belief systems of Classic-period lowland Maya, the militarized Putun Maya from the Gulf Coast (including the Itza), traditional Yucatec Maya beliefs, and religious beliefs and military traditions of peoples from the Valley of Mexico. These far-flung affiliates included the Toltecs, whose Temple of the Warriors at their capital Tula bears marked architectural and thematic commonalities with the same-titled complex at Chichén Itzá. The legendary king Topiltzin Ce Acatl of Tula, often conflated with the deity Quetzalcoatl/Kukulcan, is claimed by ethnohistorical sources to have come to Chichén Itzá during the 10th century CE. As with many places in Mesoamerica during the Post-Classic, distinctions between traditional and regional cultures in the Yucatán became blurred as the populations in large cities became ethnically-mixed. As a result, power was often based more on ideological affiliations or conquest than rigidly-defined ethnicities. Chichén Itzá, with a mostly local Yucatec Maya population, established regional alliances with polities such as Uxmal that are reflected in both hieroglyphic inscriptions and Puuc architectural commonalities. Concurrently, the Putun Maya lineage known as the Itza was expanding its sphere of influence into Yucatán's southwestern Gulf Coast, at the city of Chakanputun (now called Champoton). The Itza were primarily maritime traders, their sphere was quite large and they had active canoe-route networks as far afield as Honduras. Chichén Itzá had frontiers throughout the Maya region and in the Valley Mexico. In the mid-9th century, according to the Book of Chilam Balam, the Itza established a presence at Chichén Itzá, and were firmly in control of the city by 987 CE. Many of the major constructions in and near the Great Plaza (such as the Ball Court and the Caracol) had been built a few decades earlier, but it was during the Itza period that these buildings took on the specific motifs and monumental character that was to last for the next 200 years. During this period of Itza dominance, with help from their Mexican allies and trading partners, strong military and religious traditions from the Valley of Mexico were cemented in Chichén Itzá by the Itza themselves. Some other powerful lineages also held some influence in the city: the Cocom, the Chel, and the Xiu, whose capital was in Uxmal 100 kilometers to the west. All of these groups vied for power in both Chichén Itzá and across the region; as a result, small- scale warfare and political intrigue were commonplace during the city's long and powerful fluorescence as a center of culture, commerce, and military might unparalleled in the Maya world. Chichén Itzá is alleged, by the Book of Chilam Balam, to have finally collapsed in 1221 from a violent revolt by non-Itza lineages, as well as attacks from the city of Mayapan (which had a city center designed as a small-scale replica of Chichén Itzá) under the Cocom ruler Hunac Ceel. The Itza were driven out of Chichén Itzá and Mayapan's period of dominance began, lasting until the collapse of Mayapan in 1441 after a Xiu revolt; this event marked the civil wars that began in the mid 15th century. Chichén Itzá (particularly the Sacred Cenote) continued to be a place of pilgrimage for all the lineages, even while it lay mostly uninhabited and firmly within Cocom territory. The civil wars continued for almost a hundred years, fracturing potential Maya alliances against the Spanish, who subjugated the peoples of the Yucatán in 1546. As for the Itza, they were driven far south to the Petén in the central lowlands. There, they came to settle at the island city of Tayasal on Lake Petén Itza, near the ancient ruined city of Tikal and on the site of what is now the Guatemalan city of Flores. Being particularly fierce, isolated, and in a defensible position, the Itza city of Tayasal did not fall to the Spanish until 1697 and represented the last major Maya polity to fall in the long and brutal Spanish Conquest. Hieroglyphic records indicate that the Post-Classic Yucatán has a history marked by the rulership of lineages such as the Itza, Cocom, and Xiu. These lineages were essentially ethnic groups, and monumental inscriptions emphasized group identity. This is in stark contrast to expressions of power in the Classic Period Maya polities of the central lowlands, which emphasized the divinity of individual rulers and their immediate dynastic successors. Recent archaeological investigation has presented compelling evidence that Chichén Itzá actually ceased to function as a major power center sometime in the early 11th century, 200 years earlier than the chronicles indicate. If this is true, then there is a large time gap between the fall of Chichén Itzá and the rise to regional prominence of Mayapan in the mid-13th century. Perhaps the 16th-century chronicles reflect a biased view of the city's history and decline from the perspective of the different ethnic groups struggling for power in a politically-fractured landscape, or perhaps the most recent archaeology is not presenting an accurate chronological picture. Chichén Itzá never left the consciousness of Maya peoples of the Yucatán, though besides several mentions in Spanish colonial chronicles it was not investigated by westerners until Frederick Catherwood and John Lloyd Stephens began documenting it in 1842, capturing the public imagination and beginning a long series of archaeological investigations that continue to the present day. Cleared and restored, Chichén Itzá now stands as one of the greatest cities and centers for technological achievement in the pre-Columbian Americas. It is one of the world's most popular tourist attractions, and serves as an enduring symbol of cultural pride for both modern Mexico as a nation and millions of people of indigenous descent in the Yucatán today. return to top Project Narrative North elevation of El Castillo, drawn from laser scan data In 2007, the Oakland, California-based Chabot Space and Science Center, in conjunction with InSight Digital and ArtsLab, embarked upon a mission to produce High Definition laser and photographic data from the ruins of Chichén Itzá’s civic core for its ambitious Maya Skies Project. CyArk was called upon to spearhead the mission for its expertise in the HD Documentation and Heritage fields. In October 2007 CyArk assembled a documentation team to be sent to the Yucatán, in conjunction with their Michigan partners Metco Services. Over the course of three weeks, a highly detailed data set was produced which included HDS, close-range Laser Scanning, panoramic photography, HDR photography, and traditional survey. Dozens of scans were produced from a Leica Geosystems Scan Station laser scanner, including 37 scans of the Caracol structure alone, which was the most complex structure and the main focus of the project. Six other important structures in the civic core were also thoroughly scanned, including El Castillo. A site-wide closed traverse encompassing the six focus structures was completed, with 20 primary control points included. The overall angular error of closure was five seconds with an accuracy of 1/32000. The data collected was used as part of the Chabot Center’s Maya Skies Project exhibit, and is accessible online in the CyArk Website Archive. This entire project was made possible by a grant from the National Science Foundation. CHICHÉN ITZÁ is a major national park in Mexico and has become one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world, particularly due to its proximity to the international resort city of Cancún, where a day trip to the site is considered an important part of any stay in the region. As a result of this, the site’s core has sustained considerable wear, with over 100,000 visitors per year climbing on monuments that in the pre-Columbian past likely saw only the footprints of a small cadre of social and religious elites. Citing concerns over safety after various incidents of death and serious injury that visitors have sustained over the years at Chichén Itzá, the Mexico's INAH has closed down most of the popular monuments to foot traffic. This includes El Castillo, which was closed after a tourist fell to her death in 2006. Additionally, the Jaguar Throne room was also closed down in 2007. While these closures have often frustrated longtime visitors to the site, they will likely prolong the lifespan of many of the monuments, which have been structurally worn down due to a huge amount of tourist traffic. Beyond the fully restored 5km core area of Chichén Itzá, the actual ruins of the city and overall archaeological zone extend over 25km and hold many unexcavated ruins and areas of high historical/archaeological significance. Both the core and the overall archaeological zone are actually located on private land, and though the core area is under the official stewardship and protection of the INAH, the surrounding areas are not under any state protections and are primarily utilized for agricultural purposes by village cooperatives and individual landowners. Issues surrounding local patrimony over land ownership and questions of proper use have often pitted indigenous Maya farmers (often self-identified as Ladinos, inferring a lack of emphasis on indigenousness in favor of a Mexican or broader Yucatecan identity) against archaeologists. Additionally, large international companies who own and operate many of the tourist hotels in the region have expanded outward from the periphery of the site core which has raised issues with the Mexican National Government represented by the INAH. These issues are further complicated by an influx of people to the region who have come to work as vendors of goods and services for the tourist trade, and who now constitute a significant new population that want their own land and resources. All these issues together make for a site with a well- maintained core, but in danger of being overwhelmed by tourism and its requisite population pressures, which may make the site unable to sustain itself.