Major Areas and Temples
The Artisans’ Wall: Just off the Central Plaza at the base of the staircase, it is constructed of an uncommon salmon-colored stone.
Aqueduct: This is the source of water flowing into the fountains, brought in from the south.
Central Plaza: This is the large grassy area between the eastern and western sides of the Urban Sector.
Fountains: There are a total of 16 fountains where people could access potable water. The first is just above the Temple of the Sun, and the succession of fountains goes down the eastern terraces.
Guard House: This is positioned outside the Main Gate and was used in securing Machu Picchu.
Inti Machay: This cave on the eastern terraces has been partially enclosed by a man-made wall, creating a window that is aligned to the December Solstice.
Intiwatana: Often referred to as “Hitching Post of the Sun,” this is the highest point in the Urban Sector and where important ceremonies were held. Mt. Yanantin, viewable in the distance, is thought be part of their worship.
Main Gate: The only gated entry to Machu Picchu.
Rock Quarry: A major source of rocks used in the construction.
Royal Tomb: This cave is beneath the Temple of the Sun where human remains, believed to be of royalty, were found. Beautifully carved stone makes for a remarkable entrance to this cave.
Sacred Plaza: A ceremonial area at the foot of the Intiwatana, where the Temple of the Three Windows is located.
Sacred Rock: A 25-foot-long stone carved in the shape of a mountain believed to represent Machu Picchu (Ancient Peak). Positioned at the base of Huayna Picchu (Young Peak), climbers would honor the mountain prior to ascending. The back side is carved to look like an animal.
Slide Rock: Also known as “The Slide,” this large rock was sheered flat at approximately a 45-degree angle; its purpose unknown.
Temple of the Condor: This monument has a carved condor head and beak on the ground paired with two wings of natural and man-made stone masses. Condors, the largest birds in the Andes, are revered by many in South America.
Temple of the Sun: A curvilinear wall of rare beauty surrounds a carved floor alter. The eastern window and alter are perfectly aligned to celebrate the first light of the June Solstice. The first light of the December Solstice is received through the templeâ€™s southern window.
Temple of the Three Windows: Also known as Room of the Three Windows. A large stone block wall framing three window openings overlooking the Central Plaza is located at the eastern edge of Sacred Plaza.
Mountains and Rivers
Huayna Picchu: Meaning “Young Peak,” this is the highest mountain on the north end of the site.
Machu Picchu: Meaning “Ancient Peak,” this is the highest mountain just south of the citadel.
Putucusi: Meaning “Happy Mountain,” this lush, rounded mountain is just east of Machu Picchu.
Uña Picchu: This is the second highest mountain on the north end and adjacent to Huayna Picchu.
Urabamba River: Flows on three sides of Machu Picchu approximately two-thousand feet below the citadel. River runs through town of Aquas Caliente.
Mount Yanantin: This high, pointed mountain to the east is considered very sacred.