Cusco & Machu Picchu: Inca Architecture

What stands out to me in Inca architecture and what this type of pre-Columbian architecture is known for is the way the surrounding natural environment is used as part of the design. Buildings and structures made of materials from the area visually blend into the landscape. It only makes sense that some of the most impressive pieces of Inca architecture can be found in Cusco, the capital of the Inca empire.

These are some examples of the creative and strategic masonry of Inca architecture in Cusco and its surrounding areas:

  • Machu Picchu – Known for its polished dry-stone walls, this Inca city or citadel was named one of the New Seven Wonders of the Modern World as one of the most important heritage sites on earth, making the Machu Picchu trip a popular bucket list item and one of the top treks in Peru
  • Sacsayhuamán (or Saqsaywaman) – As part of the Cusco City Tour, this stone construction took more than 20,000 people to build
  • Zona X (a.k.a. “X Zone” in English) – Some say that this little-known area may have been the quarry where stones were extracted for Sacsayhuaman

In this video clip of Zona X, you can see some of the clean cuts of rock at 2:08 in the video and a more natural staircase formation at 2:37 in the video.

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