Atlantis Online
September 23, 2018, 11:00:23 pm
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.

Login with username, password and session length
News: Giant crater may lie under Antarctic ice
http://space.newscientist.com/article/dn9268
 
  Home Help Arcade Gallery Links Staff List Calendar Login Register  

Beyond Machu Picchu — Choquequirao, Lost City in the Clouds

Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Down
  Print  
Author Topic: Beyond Machu Picchu — Choquequirao, Lost City in the Clouds  (Read 198 times)
Cloud Warrior
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3085



« on: January 09, 2015, 06:34:35 pm »

Beyond Machu Picchu — Choquequirao, Lost City in the Clouds
January 6, 2015 1:38 pm4 commentsViews: 3201

By Gary Ziegler —

The first rays of morning sunlight illuminate the great stone altar, streaming through a square opening over my head. “Inti camac sumac,” chants the priest. Soaked in sweat, I fight the bindings holding me to the stone as the grinning, looming, scarlet-cloaked figure slowly brings down a gleaming, bloodstained bronze knife toward my heaving chest.

Report Spam   Logged

Social Buttons

Cloud Warrior
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3085



« Reply #1 on: January 09, 2015, 06:39:12 pm »

“Jefe, buenos dias — café?”

Startled suddenly awake, I thankfully greet a smiling Pancho, our camp cook, handing a cup of wake-up coffee through the tent door. Whew — I make a silent oath to myself to avoid the second round of piscos that we had passed around the campfire last night.

We are on our way back to the mysterious and magnificent mountain Inca city in the remote cloud-forested Andes of Peru that has been the focus of my research and explorations for many years and numerous expeditions.

I am traveling with an interesting group of ethno-botanists. Our objective is to identify plants and trees that may have been introduced by the Inca residents and may still live on in the tangled vegetation surrounding the recently cleared stone walls and buildings.

There is always something more to learn at the Inca’s second Machu Picchu.
Report Spam   Logged
Cloud Warrior
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3085



« Reply #2 on: January 09, 2015, 06:39:25 pm »

Report Spam   Logged
Cloud Warrior
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3085



« Reply #3 on: January 09, 2015, 06:39:48 pm »

The Inca royal estate and ceremonial complex, Choquequirao is perched majestically at 9,800 feet of elevation on the cloud-forested ridge of a glaciated 17,700 foot peak.

The traditionally sacred Apurimac River, reportedly the longest headwater source of the Amazon, roars through a deep canyon some 5000 feet below. The site lies 61 miles west of Cusco in the rugged, remote Vilcabamba range of the Peruvian Andes, far distant from roads, trains and the tourist hordes that mob Choquequirao’s famous sister estate, Machu Picchu.

Choquequirao remains one of the great, rewarding travel destinations of the Americas that still retain some of the excitement and discovery experience of the past.

It is a truly ‘lost city,’ abandoned sometime around 1572 when the holdout last Inca ruler, Tupac Amaru was captured in the distant jungles, dragged back to Cusco and executed by Spanish colonial authorities. The ancient houses, temples, canals and walls were soon reclaimed by the silent, green, primeval forest only to be rediscovered and revealed in recent times. Located on the far, unpopulated and geographically hostile side of the immense Apurimac Canyon, the region remained disconnected from the farms, villages and roads of developing Peru.

It is little known that Yale professor Hiram Bingham, the now famous scientific discoverer of Machu Picchu in 1911 was inspired to launch his return to Peru and archaeological explorations after a visit to Choquequirao in 1909. Bingham visited Choquequirao twice, the second time with a crew of surveyors, cartographers and specialists to produce the first map and scientific description.

During the early 1990s, the Peruvian government took interest, beginning a careful archaeological and restoration project that continues today. In 1995, a new trail and foot bridge crossing the Apurimac was completed, giving more access to adventurous travelers and pack-horse-supported small tour groups, contributing to the income and employment of enterprising local families.
Report Spam   Logged
Cloud Warrior
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3085



« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2015, 06:40:11 pm »

Report Spam   Logged
Cloud Warrior
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3085



« Reply #5 on: January 09, 2015, 06:40:27 pm »

The previous year I had arrived for the first time with a filming expedition, reopening the long, multi-day trail across the rugged highlands from Machu Picchu with picks, shovels and machetes.

Now twenty years later, I am returning yet again to contemplate Choquequirao’s mysteries and matchless beauty, trekking in by the shorter, two-day route from the road head near the community of Cachora. University of Colorado archeoastronomer, Kim Malville and I recently published my life’s work in the Andes and our studies together of Choquequirao, in a new book entitled “Machu Picchu’s Sacred Sisters, Choquequirao and Llactapata.”  The book focuses on similarities with Machu Picchu, concluding that Choquequirao was modeled and geocosmically located after its older ceremonial sister.

We describe our collective findings and contributions of colleagues in detail with a few adventures thrown in from journals as well. The chapters cover main and outlying groups, architectural features, construction techniques, probable usage, function, and how the Inca design incorporates Andean astronomy and the sacred landscape. In brief, we suggest that Choquequirao was designed and constructed during the reign of the Inca, Topa Yupanki, sometime in the late fifteenth century, modeled after his father, Pachachuti’s estate, Machu Picchu.

Topa Inca had Choquequirao built as his own Machu Picchu.
Report Spam   Logged
Cloud Warrior
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3085



« Reply #6 on: January 09, 2015, 06:40:43 pm »

Report Spam   Logged
Cloud Warrior
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3085



« Reply #7 on: January 09, 2015, 06:41:07 pm »

Experience from field investigations indicates Inca monumental sites were carefully planned and designed according to astronomical alignments, precisely placed in relationship to sacred rivers, mountains, and celestial phenomena.

Choquequirao fits this view. It was uniquely located at a convergence of sacred terrain features with celestial events most important to the Inca state religion and Andean tradition in particular, the June and December solstices.

Like Machu Picchu, important, high-status construction is centered on a ridge top with a higher mountain behind and a lower distinctive promontory in front, with a sacred river flowing below in view. Each hosts a series of fountains or baths passing through ridge top groups.

During the height of the Inca empire, 1450-1526, both Choquequirao and Machu Picchu would likely have served as a provincial administrative center. There is reasonable evidence that Machu Picchu and Choquequirao may have also provided a seasonal pilgrimage destination for regional state-sponsored ceremonial events.
Report Spam   Logged
Cloud Warrior
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3085



« Reply #8 on: January 09, 2015, 06:41:22 pm »

Report Spam   Logged
Cloud Warrior
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3085



« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2015, 06:41:38 pm »

It is easy to envision a great procession of corn beer, chicha drinking pilgrims singing and chanting, conch shells blowing, melodic flutes forlornly playing, drums reverberating from the canyon walls as the outer gate is approached. Pots and cups are ritually broken and offerings, borne in for the mountain spirits, apus, are piled about as the ceremony starts, carefully choreographed by richly dressed attendant priests.

Evidence that coca was widely grown, coca store houses, llama pens and a unique llama train mural, support Choquequirao as an important coca growing and distribution center. Intensive cultivation, ongoing construction and maintenance would have required a large resident population. Remains of a large settlement of simple, round, wood dwellings contained by low stone walls is situated over an area of several square miles, above an outlying temple water shrine, Pinchaunuyoc. These would have housed the needed workers well away from privileged resident Inca administrators, attendants, and main group temples.

Choquequirao layoutVisiting Choquequirao
Report Spam   Logged
Cloud Warrior
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3085



« Reply #10 on: January 09, 2015, 06:41:54 pm »

Report Spam   Logged
Cloud Warrior
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3085



« Reply #11 on: January 09, 2015, 06:42:18 pm »

Upon arrival at Choquequirao, one should allow several days to explore the site and visit the two most important outlying groups. Pinchaunuyoc, several miles away, requires several thousand feet of climbing down and back up for a round trip. The waterfall group, Casa de Cascada, uses up the better part of a day to visit and return.

Both are well worth the time.

One of the rewards of visiting Choquequirao is that it has remained well off the beaten path. Only a few hundred visit during the dry season as compared to more than two thousand daily at Machu Picchu. Arriving by the shortest route requires two days of strenuous hiking.

Descending into the deep Apurimac then back up some 4,500 feet to reach the site is like crossing Arizona’s Grand Canyon.

One either carries a heavy backpack or hires local packers to bring the needed supplies with horses or mules. The best solution is to sign on with one of the Cusco-based trekking agencies that regularly take small groups of two to six there during the dry season months of April into December.
Report Spam   Logged
Cloud Warrior
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3085



« Reply #12 on: January 09, 2015, 06:42:39 pm »

Report Spam   Logged
Cloud Warrior
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3085



« Reply #13 on: January 09, 2015, 06:43:01 pm »

It is possible to ride a horse most of the way but good horses are hard to come by. Most of the local packer stock is not up to standards of safety and dependability nor well cared for. Some trekking agencies are marginal. A good test is the cost. If it seems really cheap, there is a reason. Carefully research and checking references before signing on is recommended.

An old Cusco friend and Inca expert, Edwin Dueñas, operates trips by horseback and foot with customized itineraries to Choquequirao and other sites for individuals and small groups out of Cusco. Edwin has worked with me as a field research associate for many years. We have led groups together on a number of occasions. I highly recommend contracting him as the best archaeological guide and outfitter available. www.adventurespecialists.org

Ziegler and DueñasThe small community of Cachora sits in a lush, broad valley leading down to an immensely steep drop to the Apurimac River. Agriculture and travel in the valley goes back to pre-Inca times.
Report Spam   Logged
Cloud Warrior
Superhero Member
******
Posts: 3085



« Reply #14 on: January 09, 2015, 06:43:22 pm »

Report Spam   Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3   Go Up
  Print  
 
Jump to:  

Powered by EzPortal
Bookmark this site! | Upgrade This Forum
SMF For Free - Create your own Forum | Buy traffic for your forum/website
Powered by SMF | SMF © 2016, Simple Machines
Privacy Policy