Seven Wonders Of The World

Seven Wonders Of The  Ancient World

“There are no seven wonders of the world in the eyes of a child. There are seven million,”

Walt Streightiff

I’ve seen two of  the Seven Wonders of the World – the Temple of Artemis  at Ephesus and the Colossus of Rhodes. I hope to see them all one day.  Most of these wonders of ancient civilizations are not  there anymore. – except the Pyramid of Giza.

The list of the Seven Wonders Of The Ancient World that we use today was put together in 200 BC. by a Greek Historian names Antipatros who wanted to commemorate the achievements of the ancient world. He picked them for many reasons . They were chosen  for grandeur and prestige. They were well-known unique constructions  at that time. They stood unequaled in size, design and craftsmanship.  He chose them for the vision and the purpose that inspired them. This was important to the Greeks. Did it serve as a tomb? Was its purpose to bring beauty into the world? Was it a monument to an ancient religion that no longer exists?

Completed around 550 B.C. to honor the Greek goddess of hunting and nature, the Temple of Artemis was built during the Achaemenid Dynasty of the Persian Empire. Arson destroyed the temple in 356 B.C. The ancient author and philosopher Pliny described the temple as being 377 feet long and 180 feet wide (about 3 times the size of the Parthenon), with 127 Ionic columns measuring 60 feet high, and made solely of marble. Used as both a marketplace and a place of worship, the temple housed many works of art and sculpture. There is one column from the Temple of Artemis on site and the rest are in the British Museum in London.

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The Colossus of Rhodes was actually an enormous, looming 100-foot tall statue of the Greek god Helios, built on the island of Rhodes, Greece around 280 B.C. The statue was erected to commemorate the island’s patron god Helios.

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The Great Pyramid is the largest of the 3 pyramids built in the ancient city of Giza, now part of greater Cairo, Egypt. The pyramid is believed to have been built around 2560 B.C. as a tomb for the Egyptian Pharaoh Khufu, and likely took 20 years to build. (Egyptologists argue over man-power numbers, and estimates have ranged from 14,000 to 360,000 men). When built, the pyramid measured nearly 480 feet high, with the sides each measuring about 755 feet long. In addition, each side is oriented with one of the cardinal points (north, south, east and west). Nearly 2.3 million blocks of stone, each weighing about 2 tons, form the pyramid. The pyramid remained the world’s tallest building for 4 millennia after it was built .

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The Hanging Gardens of Babylon are said to have been built by Nebuchadnezzar II, a ruler of Babylon, around 600 B.C. Though historians often debate the real existence of the gardens, because there’s no physical evidence and Babylonian documents never mention them (Greek scholars first described the gardens), accounts state that the gardens consisted of vaulted terraces raised above one another and supported on pillars – an artificial rising mountain of gardens. The amazement over the gardens stems from what would have been an extraordinarily complicated irrigation system, which brought water from the Euphrates to the gardens in an otherwise arid environment. The gardens are thought to have been destroyed by an earthquake around the first century B.C.

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This enormous statue honoring the God Zeus was built at the Temple of Zeus in Olympia, Greece around 450 B.C. Designed by the Greek sculptor Pheidias, the statue of a seated Zeus measured 40 feet tall and was carved from ivory with gold-plated accents.

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Scholars estimate the Lighthouse of Alexandria, Egypt measured between 383 and 450 feet high and was built in the third century B.C. to act as a landmark for Pharos, a small island off the coast of Alexandria, Egypt. The lighthouse’s tower was built using light-colored stone.  At its highest point, a mirror was placed to reflect sunlight during the day and at night a fire burned to give off light. Some historians believe that the light given off could be seen for some 35 miles. The lighthouse was damaged by 2 earthquakes in 1303 and 1323, and its remains were destroyed in 1480, when a fort was built on the site.

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The tomb built to hold the remains of the Persian King Mausollos and his wife, Artemisia, was designed by the Greek architects Satyrus and Pythius and constructed around 353 B.C. on a hill overlooking the ancient city of Halicarnassus in Western Turkey. The tomb stood 135 feet high, and its exterior was surrounded by an ornamental frieze. Numerous statues, bas-reliefs and columns decorated the exterior of the ornate and enormous tomb, and eventually the term “mausoleum” became used to describe any large and impressive tomb. Multiple earthquakes ultimately led to the destruction of the tomb in the 14th century.

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Why do we go to these places?  I have been to a lot of ancient ruins in my life.   When I look at a Greek column or a broken one, I see a civilization that gave us philosophy, science, art, economy, logic and democracy.  It isn’t so much what I see but what I feel standing in the depth of history. I look at the ancient stones and wonder  if they knew that what they were doing was so important? Probably not. They were just living their lives, going to the Agora,  starting a war with someone over something that seems very important at the time, falling  in love, fighting with their friends, going to work and taking care of their families and pets. Maybe it just emphasizes the human connection to the past.  There are always stray animals at ruins. I like to think they have the souls of the people who lived there.

As I write this I am trying to organize my photos from all the ruins I have seen in Turkey.  I know where they come from but I didn’t take good notes about what they actually are.  It didn’t matter to me. I just cared that I was there.  I stood where they stood. Maybe I was standing where Aristotle, Homer, Heraclitus or Helen of Troy stood. Did a girl who’s heart was broken, or a man who had miraculously made it back from a bad war stand on these steps?  I always make these stories up in my head when I am standing there trying to listen to why this column or pile of stones is important.    Since we aren’t leaving much  stone,  what will they find from us?

Fly Safe,

JAZ

M and M in Mexico -Mt Alban and Mitla

M and M  in Mexico – Mount Alban and Mitla ‘

It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out your door. You step onto the road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there’s no knowing where you might be swept off to.” — J.R.R. Tolkien

Monte Alban is a large pre-Columbian archaeological site in the Santa Cruz Xoxocotlan Municipality in the southern Mexican state of Oaxaca. Besides being one of the earliest cities of Mesoamerica, Monte Albán’s importance stems also from its role as the pre-eminent Zapotec sociopolitical and economic center for close to a thousand years.

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Large-scale scientific excavations were done under the direction of Mexican archaeologist Alfonso Caso . Much of what is visible today in areas open to the public was reconstructed at that time. (cool glasses!)

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One characteristic of Monte Albán is the large number of carved stone monuments one encounters throughout the plaza. The earliest examples are the so-called “Danzantes” (literally, dancers).  They represent naked men in contorted and twisted poses, some of them genitally mutilated. The figures are said to represent sacrificial victims, which explains the morbid characteristics of the figures.  The 19th century notion that they depict dancers is now largely discredited, and these monuments, dating to the earliest period of occupation  are now seen to clearly represent tortured, sacrificed war prisoners. Dancers, tortured prisoners – it is a common mistake.

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A different type of carved stones is found in the center of the Main Plaza.  You can see  inserted within the building walls are over 40 large carved slabs dating to Monte Albán II and depicting place-names, occasionally accompanied by more writing and often characterized by upside-down heads. Alfonso Caso was the first to identify these stones as “conquest slabs”, likely listing places the Monte Albán leaders claimed to have conquered and/or controlled. How strange this sounds to us in the present day – a Zapotec male talking about his conquests.

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The Mesoamerican ballgame or ōllamaliztli  was a sport with ritual associations played since 1,400 B.C. by the Pre-Columbian people of Ancient Mexico and Central America. The sport had different versions in different places during the millennia.  A modern version of the game, ulama, is still played in a few places by the local indigenous population. It was like racquetball. The ball was made of solid rubber and weighed as much as nine pounds. The ballgame served as a way to defuse or resolve conflicts without warfare –  to settle disputes through a ballgame instead of a battle. The game had ritual aspects including human sacrifice but was also played by women and children.  Human sacrifice? we havent had that yet at halftime at the Superbowl. ( playing field)

IMG_0039 Mitla is the second most important archeological site in the state of Oaxaca in Mexico, and the most important of the Zapotec culture.

safe_image-5.php Mitla is one of the areas which represents Mesoamerican attitudes towards death, as the most consequential part of life after birth. It was built as a gateway between the world of the living and the world of the dead. The lower world was not a bad place – it was where the dead went.   The word Mitla comes from the Náhuatl word Mictlan, meaning place of the dead or underworld. In the Zapotec language this place is called Lyobaa, meaning place of rest or burial-place.

The ancient people  of Mitla wanted to keep their dead buried near them. They believed the dead went into a different sphere.They took out the bones and dressed them up to share in special occasions. Archaeologists figured this out by the many bones that were in the wrong places when they put them back. You see a lot of this in Beverly Hills and Hollywood as well.

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Mitla was inhabited since 100CE by both  Mixtecs  and Zapotecs. It was still functioning as a religious site when the Spaniards arrived in 1520.The high priest, called the Uija-tào resided at Mitla, and the Spanish likened him to the pope. Nobles buried at Mitla were destined to become “cloud people” who would intercede for the population below.[

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The main distinguishing feature of Mitla is the intricate mosaic fretwork and geometric designs that profusely adorn the walls of both the Church and Columns groups None of the fretwork designs are repeated exactly anywhere in the complex. The fretwork here is unique in all of Mesoamerica.

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The two main concerns for the Mitla site are the eroding effects of wind, rain etc. and graffiti. The latter, which is mostly painted or etched, has been a serious problem at least since the early 20th century. To protect the ruins, especially the grecas, shelters have been constructed over a number of the rooms of the Palace or Columns Group. These shelters are palm thatched roofs supported by wooden beams and columns, and are intended to mimic roofs that were common in the Mesoamerican period.

The Spaniards though that the name meant hell. As it was an important site of religious significance, many of the buildings were destroyed by the Spanish. The remains were used as building materials for the churches that sit on top of the ruins.

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for more Oaxaca info go to https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2013/04/01/foods-i-have-learned-in-oaxaca-mexico/

Viajen Con Cuidado,

JAZ

In Ruins

In Ruins In Turkey

(Pergamon, Assos, Sardis, Troy,)

“The ruins of himself! now worn away, with age, yet still majestic in decay.” Homer

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Pergamon

The best way to see the Acropolis  of Pergamon is to  take the cable car up (they will try to sell you a return ticket but insist on one-way) and then walk down the ancient road  via the Gymnasium.

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The famous Library of Pergamon, which contained 200,000 books, was situated north of the square. Antonius gave all the books in the library to Cleopatra as a wedding gift. (beauty and brains?) Pergamon’s library on the Acropolis  is the second best in the ancient Greek civilization. When the Ptolemies stopped exporting papyrus, partly because of competitors and partly because of shortages, the Pergamenes invented a new substance called pergaminus or pergamena (parchment) after the city.

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The building that has been restored now is the Temple of Trajan. Trajan started it but after his death Emperor Hadrian (117-138) finished the temple in Corinthian order.

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The Theatre of Pergamon, one of the steepest theatres in the world, has a capacity of 10,000 people and was constructed in the 3rd century BC.

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The famous Altar of Zeus in Pergamon is on the south of the theater. The Altar which was taken away from Pergamon in 1871  by the German engineer Carl Humann, is exhibited at the Museum of Pergamum in Berlin, in a way conforming to its original. Today the Turkish government is trying to get it back from Germany bringing the issue to the International Court of Justice in The Hague.

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Ascieplion

The Asclepion was an ancient medical center that was founded by Archias, a local who had been cured at the Asclepion of Epidaurus (Greece). Treatments included mud baths, the use of herbs and ointments, enemas and sunbathing. Diagnosis was often by dream analysis. (treatment rooms)

Galen (AD 131–210),  was born here and studied in Alexandria, Greece and Asia Minor before becoming a physician to Pergamum’s gladiators.  He is recognized as perhaps the greatest early physician. Galen added considerably  knowledge of the circulatory and nervous systems, and also systematized medical theory. Under his influence, the medical school at Pergamum became renowned. His work was the basis for Western medicine well into the 16th century. (Galen and the symbol of the Asclepion, the snake)

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,If you are walking from the town center (2km uphill) it passes through a large military base; be off it by dusk and don’t take photos.

A Roman bazaar street , once lined with shops, leads from the entrance to the centre, where you’ll see the base of a column carved with snakes, the symbol of Asclepios (Aesculapius), god of medicine. Just as the snake sheds its skin and gains a ‘new life’, so the patients at the Asclepion were supposed to ‘shed’ their illnesses. Signs mark a circular Temple of Asciepios, a library and, beyond it, a Roman theatre.

You can take a drink from the Sacred Well, although the plastic tube out of which the water flows doesn’t look particularly sanitary), and pass along the vaulted underground corridor to the Temple of Telesphorus, another god of medicine. Patients slept in the temple hoping that Telesphorus would send a cure or diagnosis in a dream.

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Assos

After leaving the Platonic Academy in Athens, Aristotle went to Assos, where he was welcomed by King Hermias, and opened an Academy in this city. In the Academy of Assos, Aristotle became a chief to a group of philosophers and they made many innovative observations in zoölogy and biology.. Aristotle also married Pythias, the adopted daughter of Hermias.

On the acropolis 238 m above sea level are the remains of the Doric Temple of Athena, which date back to 530 BC. Six of the original 38 columns remain. It is possible to see  spectacular views of much of the surrounding area from this ancient Temple of  Athena built on top of a cliff.

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Sardis.

Sardis was the capital of the kingdom of Lydia. In the seventh century BC, the Lydians invented the first coinage in history. Some of the highlights of Sardis are the temple of Artemis –one of the largest temples of Asia Minor and the Roman Gymnasium complex. Part of the gymnasium was converted into a synagogue in the third century BC. Sardis is one of the Seven Churches of the Revelation. (Gymnasium)

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Roman Temple of Artemis

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Troy

The city now believed to contain the ancient Troy of Homer’s Iliad was founded around 2920 BCE. Over its long and shaky history, Troy appears to have been destroyed at least nine times.

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Henrik Schliemann, having heard claims from an English archaeologist that the hill called Hisarlik concealed the ruins of Homer’s Troy, got permission from the Ottoman government for an archaeological dig. While Schliemann did manage to uncover four ancient towns during his excavations, the amateur archaeologist also destroyed several others along the way.

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Schliemann also found a cache of gold and other artifacts. He mistakenly believed them to be “The Treasure of Priam,” but it was later proven to be from an earlier civilization. The treasure was recently rediscovered in Russia, after having disappeared during WW2, and is at the centre of an ongoing ownership dispute. At the moment, the treasure sits in the Pushkin Museum in Moscow.

After Schliemann death, his assistant Wilhelm Doerpfeld worked at Troy for many years. It was he who identified the nine basic layers of the city, labeling them in the Roman numerical system still used today. An American archaeologist named Carl Blegen would find based on evidence of burning and siege, that Troy VII-a  was the likeliest time for the Trojan War.

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At Troy one can see mostly ruins or ruins of ruins. There are ruins of walls from a number of different periods scattered throughout the site, some include a gate or tower.

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Compared to Ephesus, one of the best-preserved ancient cities on the Mediterranean, the ruins of Troy are a disappointment, but for any fan of Homer or lover of mythology, the trip is well worth your time. (even if does include a few fake Trojan horses.)

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for more ancient ruins in Turkey go to All Roads Lead to Ephesus.

https://havefunflysafe.wordpress.com/2013/01/16/all-roads-lead-to-ephesus/

 Errosthe ( Ancient Greek closing –  be healthy, sound, vigorous, fare well) and Fly Safe,

JAZ

All Roads Lead to Ephesus

All Roads Lead to Ephesus

“No man ever steps in the same river twice, for it’s not the same river and he’s not the same man.”      Heraclitus

Ephesus is considered  to be one of the great outdoor museums of Turkey.

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Heraclitus was born in Ephesus.

The Odeon doubled as a concert hall and a meeting place ( the Senate). It was built by   a wealthy couple in 2 AD. It seats 1500 and probably had a roof since there is no drainage.

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Toilets in Ephesus were side by side with no partition. Slaves sat on them first to warm them up for their masters.

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The Celsius Library in Ephesus with 12,000 scrolls,  was the third largest library in the ancient world,  after Alexandria and Pergamon.

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The first church dedicated to the Virgin Mary was in Ephesus. The Virgin Mary lived her last years in a cottage near Ephesus. Many Popes have visited her house. It is one of the Seven Churches of the Apocalypse.

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Before it was a Roman city, Ephesus  was an ancient Greek city of Asia Minor, near the mouth of the Menderes River, in what is today Western Turkey, south of Smyrna (now Izmir). One of the greatest of the Ionian cities, it became the leading seaport of the region. Its wealth was proverbial. The Greek city was near an old center of worship of a native nature goddess, who was equated with the Greek Artemis.  In 550 B.C., a large temple was built.

The Temple of Artemis at Ephesus (Artemis (Diana) is very popular and has many temples) is  one of the Seven Wonders of the World. It covers an area as big as a soccer field but today has turned into a swamp.  There is one remaining column and you can only see the ruins of the foundations of this marvelous construction of the Hellenistic Age. It was  made of marble and full of sculptured columns, capitals and shafts. It was twice the size of the Parthenon in Athens.  The most beautiful  ruins that remain of this temple are  exhibited today in the British Museum in London. You can find it in the Hall Of The Stolen Goods.

The statue of many-breasted Artemis was the symbol of the temple but also of abundance, hunting and wild life. The genuine statue of Artemis, removed during the fire, is  exhibited in the Selcuk Museum in Turkey.  Many copies of this statue found during the latest excavations date back from the Roman period.

The first advertisement of the antiquity, which shows the way to the brothel, is on the Marbel Street in Ephesus.

The Grand Theatre in Ephesus has seating capacity of 24,000 people.

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Ephesus is the best preserved classical city of the Eastern Mediterranean, and among the best places in the world enabling one to genuinely soak in the atmosphere of Roman times.

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Ephesus  was once a seaport and  is now located  6 miles away from the sea.

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Ephesus was discovered in Selcuk, Izmir in Western Turkey.

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Some scholars estimate the number of people living at Ephesus to have exceeded 250,000 inhabitants during Ephesus III.  This  would make it perhaps the fourth largest of its day behind: 
1) Rome; 
2) Alexandria; and 
3) Antioch.

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Got columns?

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Ephesus was the world capital of the slave trade from 100 B.C. to  100 A.D.

Sign at Ephesus – Personally, I think all children need attention.

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Ephesus terrace houses are located on the hill, opposite the  Hadrian temple.  They are also called  “the houses of rich“. They tell a lot about family life during the Roman period.

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There are six residential units on three terraces at the lower end of the slope of the Bulbul Mountain. The oldest building dates back to 1 BC and continued in use as a residence until  7 AD. The excavations of the terrace houses started in 1960.

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 Ephesus Terrace Houses are covered with protective roofing which resembles Roman houses. The mosaics on the floor and the frescos have been consolidated and two houses have been opened to the public as a museum.

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They had interior courtyards (peristyle) in the center, with the ceiling open.. On the ground floor there were living and dining rooms opening to the hall, and upstairs there were bedrooms and guest rooms.

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The heating system of the terrace houses were the same as that in the baths. Clay pipes beneath the floors and behind the walls carried hot air through the houses. The houses also had cold and hot water. The rooms had no windows, only illuminated with light coming from the open hall, so that most of the rooms were dim.

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An ancient Roman cat  is guarding the ruins.

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Heraclitus is right.  it is my second time in Ephesus. I was there in my early twenties. They have done a lot more excavation. i am a lot more interested in it now.  I  have changed also.

‘All is flux”  and fly safe,

JAZ

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Things I Have Learned From The Incas In Peru

“Before our white brothers came to civilize us we had no jails. Therefore we had no criminals. You can’t have criminals without a jail. We had no locks or keys, and so we had no thieves. If an Indian  was so poor that he had no horse, tipi or blanket, someone gave him these things. We were too uncivilized to set much value on personal belongings. We wanted to have things only in order to give them away. We had no money, and therefore a man’s worth couldn’t be measured by it. We had no written law, no attorneys or politicians, therefore we couldn’t cheat. We really were in a bad way before the white men came, and I don’t know how we managed to get along without these basic things which, we are told, are absolutely necessary to make a civilized society.”

― John Lame DeerLame Deer, Seeker of Visions

Things I Have Learned from the Incas In Peru

The Inca culture is part myth part Peruvian history. There are no written historical records of  people that lived for three hundred years and ruled  the West Coast of South America for one hundred years.

Their recording system (mathematical) system was colored strings with knots to keep records of everything that could possibly be counted (livestock and business transactions), and some things that couldn’t – like instructions, people’s names etc.   They were  required to remember to understand what the strings or quipu meant .  Most people couldn’t do it.  They had a  class of royal quipu specialists who knew how to make and read them. (the first accountants and business managers)

Archaeologists believe now that the Incas  were possibly inventing written language just as the Europeans were destroying their civilization.

.No other civilization has managed to assemble so many colossal stone blocks so seamlessly cut with stones or bronze.  The edges of the stone were rubbed smooth until they merged together perfectly like a puzzle. There is no mortar holding them together and they are earthquake proof constructions. ( Sacsayhuaman fortress)

How they  transported all that granite up there  to Machu Picchu remains a mystery.  It is believed that they quarried  it on site. 

The Incas knew how important water was and treated it with great respect but we did not. (Ollaytantambo)

but we

When the descendants of the Incas are planting to this day, they put flowers in their hair to dress the earth. They live with shortages but they have the mountains and the sky and that gives them peace. They are always chewing coca leaves.

Inca dances are traditional and also a way to pray.

The Inca manhood initiation rite lasted a full month, during which the boys who were training to be warriors were flogged repeatedly, had huge holes cut in their ear lobes, ran dangerous races, and danced till they dropped.

There was a lot of building going on in the Inca civilization ( third largest after Egypt and Mesapotamia)  They built palaces, aqueducts, storehouses, terraces, temples, houses, gateways etc. Looking at Machu Picchu you could see their “tax dollars at work”.

 We know very little about Inca women because the only written records are by the Spaniards. Spain was a patriarchal society and they were not interested in recording information about women.

The Inca emperor married his sister seemingly because this helped to resolve the problems they had with succession when an Inca died.  ( a good way to prevent inheritance problems but not birth defects). Her name was Coya and she was powerful in her own right.

 Pizzaro and his men were not heroic explorers but an extremely desperate group of foreign invaders who brutally murdered the Inca civilization  ( where have we heard this before?)

The Incas were skilled craftsmen and artists. Most of  their gold and silver art was melted down by the Spaniards.

There were no homeless people in the Inca civilization. If criminals were not killed, they had to beg for food everyday and tell their stories so other people would not commit the same crime. (sounds a lot better than twenty years without parole) 

The spirit of Ayni  (rhymes with Hi-ni)   exists in the Quechua  culture today. We don’t talk  about Incas as a surviving culture anymore.  It is “I help you so you must help me later.”

Also today we have Inka Kola, Inka rail and a ton of Inka traffic going to all the historic sites.

Machu Picchu was the royal estate of Inca  King Pachacuti.

Th Incas were good at organizing labor. When Pachacuti’s grandson Huayna Capac built his royal estate  (in Urubumba) he had 150,000 workers on site. The corn-growing Cochabamba valley of Bolivia was short of local labor, so they had 28,000 workers migrate there from Lake Titicaca and back (a distance of about three hundred miles) twice a year, once to plant and once to harvest.  On foot, of course.

They had nice roads to travel on. The Incas built a network of stone-paved highways all over the empire. Archaeologists have so far logged about 50,000 miles of remaining highways in modern Peru alone, not counting the other nations that once formed part of the Inca empire.

Machu Picchu has brilliant engineering, drainage and foundations. They filled the terraces with layers, starting with topsoil for the crops and then river sand, stone chippings from the quarries, and big rocks. Underneath that are subterranean drainage channels which still carry water down the mountain   No matter how hard it rains, no standing water ever remains for long on the surface.( Estimate: 60% of construction at Machu Picchu is invisible, underground.) i believe we could learn something here because it rains a lot in Macchu Picchu.
The Incas worshipped the earth goddess Pachamama . Before our trip to Machu Picchu we met with a shaman to make an offering to Pachamama for safe journey.

The purpose of Macchu Picchu will always remain a mystery. It is probably a religious and spiritual site.  It is the work of man echoing the work of nature. The Inca trail leading up to Machu Picchu ( it takes four days  of camping out in the Andes if you want to do it) was built to always face the snow capped mountains because that is what they worshipped. The architectural style is sacred geography.  For me, if God isn’t at Machu Picchu, he isn’t anywhere.

 

Viajen con cuidado,

JAZ

PS.  I had help on this one . It is advantageous  when you are writing about the Incas to have made a friend in Peru who happens to be one of the leading authorities on the Inca civilization .  Peter Frost is an explorer, author, photographer and National Geographic expert on Peru and the  Incas.  He has made one of the most important discoveries of Inca civilization since Machu Picchu. Check out his website  (www.peterfrost.org).  If you are traveling to  Peru you will find his books very beautiful,  helpful and informative.