April 25, 2013
0616 PERU (Cusco) - Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu (UNESCO WHS)
"Dimly I began to realize that this wall and its adjoining semicircular temple over the cave were as fine as the finest stonework in the world. It fairly took my breath away. What could this place be?" wrote Hiram Bingham III in the book Lost City of the Incas, published in 1948, after 37 years of the discovery of the fabulous Machu Picchu. Even now, after another 66 years, it isn't known why was built this city, that was its goal, and why was abandoned.
Built by the Sapa Inca Pachacuti around 1450, at over 2,400m above sea level, between two barren peaks, Machu Picchu ("Old Peak" in Quechua) and Huayna Picchu (Young Peak), above the Urubamba Valley, at 80km northwest of Cusco, this city remained unknown to the Spaniards even after the decapitation of Túpac Amaru in 1572, which put an end to nearly four centuries of the Incas dynasty and forty years of resistance in Vilcabamba Mountains. Invisible from below and completely isolated, surrounded by agricultural terraces sufficient to feed the population, and watered by natural springs, Machu Picchu counts about 200 buildings (which could shelter only a little more than 500 people), arranged on wide parallel terraces around a central square, and divided into an urban sector and an agricultural one (the upper town and the lower town). Most have the form of a quadrangle and only one floor, with no interior partition. The most important structures are the Sun Gate (Inti Punku), the Intihuatana stone, the Temple of the Sun (Torreon), the Room of the Three Windows, and the Temple of the Condor. At the central buildings was used the classical Inca architectural style of polished dry-stone walls of regular shape (called ashlar), in which blocks of stone are fit together without mortar so tightly, that not even a knife's blade could enter between them.
Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, and in 2007 was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in a worldwide Internet poll. I can't end before quoting the words of Chilean poet Pablo Neruda: "Machu Picchu is a trip to the serenity of the soul, to the eternal fusion with the cosmos; where we feel our fragility. It is one of the greatest marvels of South America. A resting place of butterflies in the epicentre of the great circle of life. One more miracle."
About the stamp
The stamp are part of a series with birds, issued on November 9, 2009, designed by Thomas Green, and compound of four stamps, all with the same face value (6 PEN):
• Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia)
• Ferruginous Pygmy Owl (Glaucidium brasilianum)
• Whimbrel (Numenius phaeopus) - it's on this postcard
• Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)
Machu Picchu - Wikipedia
Mysterious Machu Picchu - Adventure Life
Machu Picchu's Mysteries Continue to Lure Explorers - National Geographic
Machu Picchu - Wikitravel
Machu Picchu Tourist Information - Andrean Travel Web
sender: Olga Pavlenko (direct swap)
sent from Puno (Puno / Peru), on 10.04.2013