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Eldar Kadymov | all galleries >> Galleries >> Discovering Mystique Peru > Astronomic Stone, Machu Picchu
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Astronomic Stone, Machu Picchu

One of Machu Picchu's primary functions was that of astronomical observatory. The Intihuatana stone (meaning 'Hitching Post of the Sun') has been shown to be a precise indicator of the date of the two equinoxes and other significant celestial periods. The Intihuatana (also called the Saywa or Sukhanka stone) is designed to hitch the sun at the two equinoxes, not at the solstice (as is stated in some tourist literature and new-age books). At midday on March 21st and September 21st, the sun stands almost directly above the pillar, creating no shadow at all. At this precise moment the sun "sits with all his might upon the pillar" and is for a moment "tied" to the rock. At these periods, the Incas held ceremonies at the stone in which they "tied the sun" to halt its northward movement in the sky. There is also an Intihuatana alignment with the December solstice (the summer solstice of the southern hemisphere), when at sunset the sun sinks behind Pumasillo (the Puma's claw), the most sacred mountain of the western Vilcabamba range, but the shrine itself is primarily equinoctial.

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Eldar Kadymov15-Jul-2007 16:58
Ann, I don't think they possess this skill set nowadays, as our whole weekend was spoilt by continuous rainfall, LOL !
Ann Cleeves15-Jul-2007 16:36
T o be honest...this doesn't look very ancient....more like a modern seat provided at a tourists' viewpoint. Thank goodness your good comprehensive information informes me otherwise. I think that maybe some Inca descendants held a very successful ceremony there this March and kept the sun in the southern hemisphere!
Eldar Kadymov09-Jul-2007 14:50
Michael, these goddam Incas totally overlooked an oppotunity to shape the stone so that we could have hot tap bathing accompanied with wine drinking, such a shame. They were too much occupied with scientific exersizes rather than enjoying epicurean life style in resort like surroundings... As for ventures related to post wine-drinking phase, no worries here, the hill steps vertically down for about 800 meters right from the back edge... lotsa fun should it be in moonlight... Your generocity with compliment for shot is really flattering, yet I have to admit that this is very frustrating result for me as I have completely blown highlights on the clouds, which does not happen to me very often...
Michael Weinberg09-Jul-2007 14:09
Hello Eldar. Fascinating piece of both history and science.... and some fine artistic photography as well. Looks like a good starting place for the song, "Stairway to Heaven." Personally it looks like a great place to have a picnic, sip some pinot noire and contemplate finding a toilet somewhere nearby. Fine work. Ciao, Michael.,