La Ruta Maya and the Inca Trail SDF_v8

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Information about La Ruta Maya and the Inca Trail SDF_v8

Published on December 24, 2008

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La Ruta Maya and the Inca Trail : La Ruta Maya and the Inca Trail Presented to: Boston Office SDF 4 October 2002 History of the Maya : History of the Maya Mayan history begins in about 250, and lasts until about 1000. The famous disappearance of the Maya was actually a slow fade over about 100 years. From roughly 700 AD, the center of Mayan civilization moved from the highlands of Guatemala to the lowlands of the Yucatan peninsula. The Maya were largely an urban people, building large cities surrounded by fields and residential suburbs. Each province developed its own architectural style and city design, with smaller cities mirroring the capital. The Mayan glyphs were a system of counting and writing that baffled scientists for many years. Only a few texts survived the conquest, and the stelae in the cities are largely ceremonial or astronomical in nature. The numerical system was deciphered first, followed by the textual glyphs. This decoding is still in progress, with some 800 glyphs having been identified across the Mayan world. The Maya are known for the violence of their art and the vicious ball game played throughout the meso-american world. Personal mutilation was used in religious rites, generally by the ruler and his family. Human sacrifice was also practiced. After the decline of the Maya, other civilizations took over the lowland areas of Mexico and Guatemala. The Aztec took some aspects of Mayan civilization, including the ball game and the human sacrifice. In the highlands, the older Classic Maya tribes survive to this day, speaking Quechua and practicing the Mayan religion alongside Catholicism. Copàn : Copàn Inhabited 400 – 800 AD One of the largest Maya cities with a population of 25,000 Known for rich sculptural detail Cultural center of the Classic period Famous sites: Hieroglyphic staircase, ball court, gathering of stelae Slide 6: These Mayan glyphs name the ruler during the time the altar above was built. Note the detailed carving, still visible after 1200 years. Slide 7: The carvings at Copàn are extremely detailed and deep, in contrast to the Palenque relief. An open plaza has been turned into a sculpture garden of sorts, holding stela and bits of carving from around the site. Slide 8: A typical stela will have a relief of a warrior king on the front, and glyphs detailing the date of the stela and its purpose on the sides. They were erected to commemorate anniversaries, victories, and other events in the reign of the viceroy of the city. The subject is frequently elaborately costumed and masked, holding ritual gear. The calendar glyphs on the side give a very precise date, used to create a history of the people. Slide 9: The famous meso-american ball game was played on courts like this one. Note the three round bird heads on the side walls, probably used for scoring. The stepped temple from which this photo was taken probably served as a viewing area. This is the fourth ball court on this site, each built on top of the former. The green tarp in the right foreground covers the hieroglyphic staircase, which cannot be photographed. Slide 10: The open plaza now holding the sculpture garden can be seen behind the ball court. Tikal : Tikal Inhabited 250 – 900 AD Vast urban area with a population exceeding 100,000 Considered “classic” or “standard” Maya city Long causeways link plazas, with temples overlooking Famous sites: Templo del Grand Jaguar (I), Temple de los Inscripciones Slide 12: Temple I (Templo del Grand Jaguar) Temple IV (unnamed) Slide 13: Temple II? This one you can climb. Coatimundi as seen on the grounds Slide 14: This round altar is enscribed with glyphs around the edge, which seem to contain both a date and a ruler’s name. The central panel shows a sacrifice. Very few stelae and other carvings survive at Tikal, but the temples are in much better condition and most can be climbed. Yaxchilán : Yaxchilán Inhabited 400 – 700 AD Accessible only by river, small population Many carved lintels and stelae in excellent condition Famous sites: labyrinth Slide 16: The honeycomb tops on the temples at Yaxchilán are specific to this region. Honeycombs are seen further north and west, but not to the east. Note the stonework on the bottom level, which is not as fine as in other regions. Since Yaxchilán is so remote, very few visitors or archeologists come here. Unlike the other sites, this one is more realistic with fewer signs, staircases, and vendors. Slide 17: This set of caves is home to some tombs and many, many bats. The temples are less restored here, but still accessible. Slide 18: The quality of carving is good, but much more shallow than in Copàn. Bonampak : Bonampak Inhabited 600 – 800 AD Discovered 1946, until recently accessible only by 10k hike Brilliantly colored murals – the only painted surfaces remaining in the Maya ruins Famous sites: murals Slide 20: This is the entirety of the site. The stelae are similar to those at Yaxchilán, with shallow carving now largely eroded. The building on the right with the doors holds the famous murals, which cannot be photographed. Palenque : Palenque Inhabited 250 – 800 AD Tower structure unique in Maya architecture, constructed to give a view of the winter soltice Shows influence of Teotihuacan culture Famous sites: Tower, Temple of the Inscriptions Slide 22: The construction of Palenque is unlike most other Maya sites, using corbeled vaults like these in the hallways. While there are stepped temples, they have square buildings on top (as in the last slide). A few have honeycombs similar to, but smaller, than those in Yaxchilán. Many of the roofs have the small finials seen in this photo, specific to this site. The carving in Palenque is very shallow, and some of the human figures are strangely out of proportion. Slide 23: This reproduction shows how the stelae would have appeared at the time of the Maya. Note the different style of this memorial, with the glyphs on the left and the figure to the right. Slide 24: The most famous building at Palenque is this “palace”, most likely a temple and watchtower. The tower is unlike anything in Maya construction, and may be a Teotihuacan influence. The flat roof and square construction is similar to the temples in the rest of the site. From the base of the tower, you get a lovely view of the valley below – the top room most likely commands a 360 degree view for defensive purposes. Important Travel Tips : Important Travel Tips Most of the Maya sites are heavily visited by foreigners and locals alike. There are well-marked paths and staircases to climb. However, there are some important rules to follow. History of the Inca : History of the Inca Until 1400, the Inca nation was a small, regional culture based in the central highlands of Peru. In the 1400s, the Incas began the greatest and most rapid expansion ever recorded. After 50 years, the Inca dominated a region from Columbia to Chile. By the time the Spanish arrived in 1532, Cuzco was a large and thriving metropolis with multiple palaces and shrines covered in sheets of gold. The Inca did not have a system of writing, but communicated across their vast empire with quipus, a strand of cord attached to color-coded strings with series of knots. These were carried by relay-runners, supported by an elaborate system of roads and lodges. After the conquest, the empire was broken into several provinces by the Spanish. There was an Inca resistance led by Tupac Amaru, but this was quickly put down. In 1572, 40 years after the Spanish first entered the Andes, the last Inca leader was killed. Inti Raymi : Inti Raymi Inti Raymi is a modern festival modeled on an Inca festival to welcome the return of the sun (Inti) on the solstice. The original celebration was banned in 1572, but was revived in the 1940s. Today, it is the second largest festival in Latin America. The festival begins at the Qu’oricancha, the Inca temple of the sun which is now topped with the church of Santo Domingo. In the plain beneath the temple, warriors and the queen’s handmaidens gather while the Inca, his consort, and the priests pray at the great sun disc. The Inca and his bride oversee the beginning of the ceremony, then are loaded into litters for a procession through Cuzco and on to Sacsayhuaman. The role of the Inca and other key participants are highly sought by the local tribes, and people work for hours to make elaborate costumes similar to traditional Inca garb. The procession slowly makes its way uphill and enters the central square of the fort. The Inca and the priest mount a central dias, while the warriors and handmaidens gather around the square in colorful geometric patterns. The stages of the festival include prayers, a (fake) lllama sacrifice, and the lighting of the ritual fires. After a celebratory dance, the Inca returns to this litter and is carried back to the city, followed by the rest of the group. All evening, local dance and music groups parade through the city in celebration. Slide 28: The Qu’oricancha and the disc of the sun, with the church above. Slide 29: The central plaza of Cuzco, the Plaza de las Armas, filled with a parade and spectators. Note the rainbow flag of Cuzco on the right. Slide 30: In the plaza at Sacsayhuaman, the festival of Inti Raymi continues on a stage. There probably was an altar somewhere at the site, though not in this area. The Inca queen is seen in brown and white in the middle ground, surrounded by her handmaidens in blue. People from the different regions of the Inca empire are in different colors in the four quadrants of the plaza. The Inca is on the stage with priests and generals, conducting the ceremonies. Slide 31: The llama “sacrifice” has just concluded, and the warriors are removing the carcass to the storage site below. Unfortunately, the llama refused to play dead and squirmed quite a lot on the way. The high priest is the gentleman with the sun on his cloak. Slide 32: The Inca hails the crowd as he is carried out of the plaza after the ceremony. His standard uses the colors of the Cuzco flag. Note that his bearers carry quipu bags. Slide 33: After the potentates leave, several local dance troupes circle the plaza performing local dances and piping. The costumes are specific to a valley in the highlands. Sacsayhuaman : Sacsayhuaman Sacsayhuaman sits on the hills above Cuzco. Built of massive stones, it is a fort and religious complex marking the source of the river that flows through the city. The stones used here are large are are carefully carved to fit together. This is one of three kinds of stonework seen in Inca sites. Pisac : Pisac Pisac, not far from Cuzco, is a fabulous site on a hill over the Urubamba river. The stones are smaller than at some other sites, set with precision and artistry. It may have been as astronomical observatory. Slide 38: Note the smaller, more rectangular and regular stonework here. These are also fitted together without mortar, but are more brick-like than the large boulders generally associated with Inca architecture. This is the second style of Inca stonework, which seems to have been used for important but non-religious buildings. Note the slight inward incline of the walls, as seen at the corners, which provides stability. Salineras : Salineras The hills above the Urubamba river have massive salt deposits. These have been mined since the days of the Inca, and are still active. Ollantaytambo : Ollantaytambo is both a fortress and a temple. The massive temple of the sun is unfinished, with large stones left in a cleared section waiting to be put in place. It is the best preserved Inca site, and sits near the head of the Inca Trail. Ollantaytambo Slide 41: The entrance to the Temple of the Sun with several niches to the side. Here we see the boulder-style construction again, probably denoting a religious site. A bath fed by a stream Slide 42: The stones used in Inca buildings are carefully carved and sanded to fit perfectly without mortar. There is a stone in Cuzco with 12 sides, the corners rounded and smoothed to fit into place with no gaps. Slide 43: This stone was left during construction in this interesting position. The meaning of the protrusions is unknown. They might have been used for construction to hold ropes, or they might have been for some other reason. Some of these protrusions have been left on the finished stones, some were removed. Slide 44: Our first campsite was pretty luxurious, though I’m not sure about the little tent-huts. Slide 45: A view of Salcantay from our first campsite in the early morning. Slide 47: Llactapata, a small farming community on the hill near the river. The Urubamba river Slide 49: The trail as seen from the Abra Warmiwanusca (the first and highest pass). One of these would be very helpful on the climb. Runkurukay : Runkurukay Runkurukay is a small fortress above the river, with a curious rounded construction probably used for optimal viewing. Note the third type of Inca stonework – piles of small stones held together with mortar. Slide 51: A campsite near a pond is very scenic, but careful where you step if you go out at night. Slide 53: Important Travel Tip: Cameras are not waterproof Nor is film Phuyupatamarka : Phuyupatamarka Phuyupatamarka (cloud-level town) is set roughly 6 hours hike from Machu Picchu. It has very unusual curved walls and a series of stream-fed baths. Again, it uses the third type of Inca stonework. Intipata : Intipata Intipata is a fairly newly discovered site on a hill several hours from Machu Picchu. It is not on the beaten path, and is currently under excavation. Slide 57: Intipata has a classical set of stepped fields for agriculture, some only a foot or two wide. Wiñay Wayna : Wiñay Wayna Wiñay Wayna is one of the most beautiful sites on the trail. Built on a steep hill, the city has intricate rooms and stairways and commanding views of the valley below. Slide 59: The residential section of the city is at the bottom of the hill in a small quadrant with baths and small rooms. Intipunku : Intipunku Intipunku, the Gate of the Sun, sits along the trail at the entrance to the valley where Machu Picchu sits. From this point, you get your first view of the city. Machu Picchu : Machu Picchu Machu Picchu is a small city on on a sliver on land in a bend on the river. It was nominally discovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham. Many theories exist about its use. Was it a sacred city? A nunnery? A royal hunting lodge? Slide 62: The residential section of the city uses the more casual stonework and has many windows for artisan’s workshops. Slide 63: The Temple of the Moon has the more carefully fitted form of stonework, with trapezoidal windows. Note the altar in the background. Slide 64: Along the side of the slope are extensive steppes and small storehouses or residences. Thank you! : Thank you! For more photos and possibly some information, visit: “Serving vacation photos and commentary since 1998” A division of Fly-by-Night Industries

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