Good weather didn't last long though, after 15 minutes clouds came back and, like milk, spilled all over the valley. Now we could only see the infinite whiteness. The way down was harder and more slippery, our legs were in pain. However, it was faster to go down than up and we were back at the ruins at around 3 pm. Because of lack of time, we hadn't prepared any food the previous day to take to Machu Picchu, so we didn't have a choice but to try the cuisine at the Sanctuary Logde Restaurant. The price for a meal was very expensive, 43 USD per person, but you could eat as much as you wanted and also, we were given a little badge with the drawing of the ruins, as consolation, I think, for paying that much. However, the food was excellent.
Now we could re-enter the ancient site and walk down the streets of the Machu Picchu city. At around 4pm, not too many people were there so it was a good opportunity to take amazing photographs and enjoy the place in silence. It's a great experience to see the houses that were once occupied, the terraces where food was grown, and the sacred monuments that a long time ago were truly meaningful to the Inca people who lived here. You start wondering how it all might have looked like.
One of the most interesting parts of the complex is so called "Sacred District" of Machu Picchu. The post of the sun, the Temple of the Sun and the Room of the Three Windows is situated here. All three structures played an important role in religious rituals. There are also "water mirrors" that probably were used for observing the sky.
What is Machu Picchu?
Machu Picchu was built in the fifteenth century, during the rule of Pachacutec Inca Yupanqui, together with a rich network of roads connecting the site to the nearby towns and, of course, the capital - Cusco. It was without a doubt a place of huge importance for the citizens of the Inca Empire, Machu Picchu was abandoned after the Spanish Invasions one hundred years later, but it wasn't found and plundered by the conquistadors. After that, nature took over the city and it turned into a jungle. It was discovered as late as the beginning of the twentieth century by the american historian, Hiram Bingham.
There are many theories attempting to reveal what was the purpose of this city and none of them have been confirmed so far. Machu Picchu could have been a royal site for the king and his family, a sacred place erected for religious purposes or the center of economic influences. There are many articles and documentaries available online about the site showing the perfection of its construction, trying to explain the excavations, describing the farming methods and spiritual rituals. Nonetheless, nothing is certain, even with the help of modern science.
To visit the whole city carefully, it takes more time than we had and the guards started to rush us to the exit at around 5 pm. However, while leaving we were lucky enough to come across and stroke a lama that was grazing on one of the terraces. Right after 5 pm, we were already outside and, although exhausted, we felt sorry that the day was over. The last bus to Aguas Calientes had just left, but anyway we decided that if we climbed up here, we can also climb down. It seemed that we were the only tourists that wanted to walk back but we encountered a women and she joined us. It had just started to get dark and before the sun set, a rainbow appeared between the mountains creating a beautiful view. Halfway down the hill, three stray dogs joined us and kept us company until we reached Aguas Calientes.
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