The most popular and well-known Inka road is the one that leads
to the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. This of course, does not imply
that it was the only Inka road. It has been estimated that
throughout the length and breadth of the Empire of the Inkas,
there existed over 12,000 kilometers of roads, and the relative
aspects of that figure are still being evaluated, for it would be
necessary to distinguish the main roads from those of secondary
character. Be that as it may, the subject being addressed in the
present section of this work concerns the sites of power
situated along the Inka road between Llaqtapata, or Patallaqta,
and Machu Picchu, popularly known as “the Inka Trail.”

If Machu Picchu was the sacred, secret city, it implies that
everything located on the way leading to it was likewise
associated with sacredness. I shall discuss the archaeological
sites that exist along the stretch of territory that runs between
Pisqakucho and the sacred city including those situated on both
banks of the Willkamayu River, as well as the ones following the
highland route from Kusichaka along the so-called “Inka Trail” to
Machu Pichu.

It would be opportune to mention at this point, that in Inka times
there were a number of sites strung out along both banks of the
Urubamba between Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu, a mere
35-40 kilometers’ distance. Roads on either side of the river
interconnected both sequences of sites. In the case of those
situated on the right bank, the road connecting them was almost
completely obliterated by construction of the present railroad
dating back to the 1920′s. In turn, this was laid atop a preexisting
mule road blasted through the area in the 1890′s, which was the
route originally traveled by Hiram Bingham in 1911 when he
reached Machu Picchu. Therefore, as we visit these places, we
are walking on railroad tracks that were superimposed on a 19th
century mule road built on top of an Inka road. But several times
the original Inka road ran along a higher level thus leaving
certain segments still extant.
so many natural and cultural places. The fact that this trail leads
to Machu pijchu makes it unique and exalts its importance:
without a doubt in the Inka epoch, many more trails existed since
practically the entire Tawantinsuyo Empire was united by
thousands of kilometres of stone trails and highways, forging
through mountains and valleys crying to nature for complete
integration. Both the Inka trail’s existence and the physical
presence of the city of Machu Pijchu were unknown to adjacent
communities, recognised only in myths and legends as lost
lands protected by the gods. Following the Western man’s
arrival the inhabitants of this place were forced to abandon it,
leaving it into oblivion for centuries; only recently in this century
would the sacred city and its highways return as testimonies of a
generous past full of riches.

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