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Home > Peru Itineraries > Cusco & Machu Picchu Tours > Machu Picchu Travel information > Machu Picchu Intihuatana

Machu Picchu Intihuatana

 

The Intihuatana, which in Quechua means "place where the sun is tied", is one of the major mysteries of the Inca culture due to, is not known the exact purpose of this stone. Is located in one of the terraces of the temple of the three windows in the sanctuary of Machu Picchu and is a monolith carved and polished in several planes, with a prism-shaped and its four vertices indicate the four cardinal points.

according to previous studies, Is said that it was an observatory of the solar year, that could establish the solstices and equinoxes as well as a central and indispensable part of a complex system of astronomical measurements that served at the Incas to determine the beginning and the end of the agricultural year, fulfilling a function of both social and religious.

Certainly this enigmatic monolith attracts the admiration of thousands of visitors who travel to see the magnificent sanctuary of Machu Picchu. They pose their hands or lie down on this irregular sculpture, feeling a strange energy, an inexplicable force that emerges from each of its four edges.


Origin of the Name

For archaeologists who studied the ruins since 1877, the term was used to denote Intihuatana carved stones in general. However, this is not for the Quechua tradition, as the name that the Spanish chroniclers collected for this type of work was the term "saywa" or "sukhanka".

Then other studies, when it was discovered its role in the astrological conception of the Incas, it was understood that by illuminating the sun in the center of the sculpture is cast a shadow, which was accurate astrological instruments like the time with respect to the sun's position in the space.


For what was useful?

The most important celebrations of the Inca Empire were determined according to the measurement of the shadows of Intihuatana, accurately marking the winter solstice, which gave the start to the celebrations of IntiRaymi, the Sun Festival: the religious and social Inca ceremony.

In this event, various rituals were performed to ask the sun not to abandon them during the agricultural period, to ensure the support of its people. Therefore, they should tie it to Intihuatana symbolically. To achieve this, the high priest officiating a public ritual offering to the Sun and with his hands fixed his shadow on the stone.
 

   

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