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World Travels......South America... ...Peru fe..Peru Mural.

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MARTIN  
The outline of the puma shows the border of Cusco in the days of the Inca Empire.
CUSCO, PERU ... .The puma was a sacred animal to the ancient Incas. When they planned their capital city, Cusco was designed in the shape of a puma. Cusco was considered the navel of the world by the Incas. And, the navel of the that puma map, according to my guide, was the Temple of the Sun. Unfortunately, the temple didn't survive the very Catholic Spanish conquistadors. It's now a part of a very large monastery complex.
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MARTIN
MARTIN
Back to the puma map of old Cusco, the head that animal was the fortress Sacsayhuamán, just outside of the city and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. I headed up the mountain in the direction of Sacsayhuamán, but I really wasn't sure of the right way to go. It was steep, and the high altitude always took a toll on me. I wouldn't have wanted to live in any of the houses in that neighborhood. It was just too steep to climb up there! Once, as I stopped to rest, I heard a noise behind me. I saw a llama walking up the street. (You know I couldn't make that up.) The altitude didn't seem to phase him and he passed me as he climbed on up the mountain. And, the llama knew where he was going. I followed him to Sacsayhuamán.
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MARTIN

The ruins are a giant zig-zag stone complex. My guide told me that the zig-zags were actually the teeth of the puma. True or not, I really liked the story. The Incas carved massive boulders to fit together so tightly that not even a paper could slide between the stones. They didn't use mortar. Their constructions survived earthquakes, but not the Spanish.

The conquistadors used Sacsayhuamán as a quarry to build the cathedral in the Plaza de Armas as well as their homes and other buildings. It's hard to imagine how large the complex was, because it's still huge and amazing to wander.

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MARTIN
Copyright 2012 by Phillip Martin All rights reserved.

 

 

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