The History of Machupicchu sings the praises of human effort and creativity. When I visited the old city this year, the very first thing that I noticed was the hardest travel itself to get into the city: I had to get up at 3am, take an executive taxi and traveled two hours through amazing valleys following the curves of Urubamba river, take the “Peru Rail” train for one more hour, and finally, finally take a bus climbing up to the 2.500 meters in 25 minutes with a crazy local bus driver.
The second impression was: Thanks Universe, for this wonderful landscape! I opened my eyes and filled with the cloudy and vertiginous stone walls. The old ruins are magnificent, as the Chilean poet Pablo Neruda said:
“Towards you, Machupicchu.
High city of scalar stones,
Finally, house of the sky earthy.
Mother of stone, spume of condors,
Recife soul of human aurora.”
The creativity of human beings are amazing, when they used it for good motives. The Inca people shaped that city in the top of the mountain and create a sacred landscape for their religious beliefs. The architecture of the city was analyzed by a lot of remarked historians and architects, but the main points that I saw when I was here was four:
- The angle of the stones; all the construction was erected thinking in the occurrence of natural hazards, especially the earthquakes. All the stones was cutting in 17 degrees angles.
- The precision of the geographic localization of the Major Temples, with the special position following the movements of stars and the sun.
- The strategic location in relation with rivers, mountains and rainforest: all this elements in conjunction protects the city from the invaders.
- The creativity of that people to build a city with a terrace system for farming and livestock. The terraces system take advantage of the available water and their capacity of running water, so, they avoiding the wasting in rainy months and the mechanic erosion.
Creativity –human talent with a purpose- and geography –science of people and their space – are very good friends when they are together. As Edward Glaeser said: “One reason that London and New York and Paris are so pleasant is that they contain centuries’ worth of investment in buildings and museums and parks, but they also benefit from the urban ability to magnify human creativity.”
Maybe the Inca government doesn’t want to make a pleasant city, but they created a town with a purpose for the future. How many middle cities are growing without a purpose? How many cities are growing without the respect for their environment?