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Discovering Machu Picchu

DylanThis weekend our group went to Machu Picchu. It was really fun because we had the opportunity to learn about the Incan way of life and we also saw some great views. This weekend was an experience I know I’ll never forget. Going to Machu Picchu was a once in a lifetime opportunity and [it] makes me want to expand my horizons even more and travel more- I’m glad I was able to do it with my friends. – Dylan Tierney

Condor Temple at Machu Picchu

Condor Temple in MachupicchuThe Condor is one of the three sacred animals of the Incas. It is a representation of the heavens as well as the transfer of souls to the heavens. The Condor Temple in Machu Picchu was used to symbolically transfer bodies of people to heaven. The natural formation of the rock represents the wings and the carved stone represents the head. – Clara Fassinger, Meredith Riggs, and Ethan Hoggard 

Sun Temple in Machu Picchu

IMG_1339We had the opportunity to visit the legendary temple of the sun in Machu Picchu this weekend. This sacred place was only entered by the priest and the Inca (king). The temple was built with a semi-circular construction over a large rock, and it eventually adapted to it’s surrounding environment.

It is a landmark that stands out in Machu Picchu because of the smooth circular walls. The walls exhibit the skills the Incan’s developed and smoothness shows the temple’s importance in comparison to the rest of the ruins.

The temple contained the royal tombs in which there were mummies that the Incan people worshipped. The temple was also used to honor the Sun (Inti), an important god to the people. This place gave us an opportunity to once again admire the Inca ruins, and see the way the Incan people treated their gods. -Joseph Allen

Inti Watana Sundial

The Inti Watana sundial of Machu Picchu is believed to be an astronomical timepiece and ritual site. It aligns with the sunrise during the winter solstice; the Incas believed that the sundial’s purpose was to have helped hold the sun in place as it made its journey of descent. This is similar to the Sun Gate of Machu Picchu.

Inti Watana were often destroyed as ordered by the Spanish clergy as they believed that the Inca religion was blasphemous and farfetched. By demolishing similar structures, they discouraged the practice of the Inca religion. The sundial of Machu Picchu was left untouched, which led historians to believe that they never discovered it. However, we believe, with extensive research and data collection, that the Spaniards never demolished it because they came to the same conclusion as us: the Inti Watana was actually a chair. My fellow colleague Micaela has recorded our fellow observations and conclusions in the below paragraph.

Intiwatana“When we first saw this sundial we were amazed by the work that must have been put into creating it. We find it mindblowing that something so majestic could have been created without modern day tools. But the more we stared at it, the more we realized it could not possible be a sundial. How could nobody have noticed? It was a chair. How could 3 teenagers notice something millions of historians and tourists couldn’t? I guess that’s why they tell you to look at things with a set of fresh eyes. Hopefully the historians will take our hypothesis seriously. Thanks ISA for letting us explore one of the 7 wonders of the world and hopefully letting us change history!” – Cecilia Zhao, Michaela Gerson, and Dylan Tierney

– The above blog post was contributed by current ISA High School students who studied abroad in Cusco, Peru in 2015. While in Cusco, students take classes from professors from the Universidad de Salamanca (for college credit!) all while going on amazing weekend adventures to destinations such as Machu Picchu.

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