We arrived at Machu Picchu via Inca Trail, explored the ruins on foot, then returned for a second day to climb Huayna Picchu and examine the site from an alternate perspective. Like many humbling places on the planet, the entire setting cannot be justly captured on film or photo; the three dimensional relationships are too difficult to represent in 2D. After visiting the ancient site in person, I’m still truly in awe. The following are images and thoughts from day two…(and then I’ll get off my Machu Picchu kick, I promise!)
Yes, we watched documentaries, read books, flipped through photographers’ collections, and fantasized about wandering the ancient terraces in person, but nothing truly prepared us to see Machu Picchu in the flesh (or in the stone and land, as it were).
After trekking for days and viewing other once-alive-and-now-as-shadow shelters and outposts along the way, I wondered: What makes this ancient site beat with energy all these centuries later?
As a landscape architect, I am called to consider relationships between natural systems, material elements, and humans who dwell in artfully crafted spaces.
While the layout and planning and masonry walls and terraces are masterfully executed, the deeply responsive situation within the natural setting elevates the ruins from impressive to profound.
Imagine: without Huayna Picchu looming in the background, would the world so quickly recognize the iconic image of the ancient city?
It is not simply the marvel of the stones, it is the glorious context of the design that makes Machu Picchu shine. Continue reading