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Now it’s YOUR turn! Please Comment and share photos

19 Feb

On top the world -- at least the lost Incan version of the world at Machu Picchu: the Equipo Peru and ArtAndes gangs at the Sun Gate. Photo by Jeff Nistler. Click on photo to enlarge.

Please use the Comments link below as a forum for keeping in touch with everyone on the 2012 ArtAndes tour — across the U.S. and Peru! Your Comments will show up to the right as well as in the links below, and we can all respond to them here, too. Feel free to leave Comments in Spanish, and we will translate them into English — or vice versa, if you want.

Also, please share some of your photos by uploading them onto our Flickr page, and they’ll appear on the bottom- right side of this page, too, at least initially. We will send you our Flickr login and password via email.

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Machu Picchu: Exploring the lost city of the Incas

18 Jan

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Machu Picchu sits near the top of many people’s bucket lists, and it’s easy to see why.  The original stone masonry, contrasting with the mountains, forms a setting that cannot be compared to any other place on Earth.  The Incas constructed Machu Picchu in about 1450, and historians argue over the significance of the archeological site. Unnoticed and untouched by the Spanish during the conquest, the ruins were “discovered” by Hiram Bingham in 1911.  Though we visited during the rainy season, the sun was shining for most of the day, and it only rained later in the afternoon (hence the change in lighting in the photos).

Photos by Megan Roltgen, Lacey Weninger and Mike Dorsher.

Equipo Peru visiting journalist Sharon Kessler has posted another Machu Picchu slideshow, focusing on the Inca’s stonework, on her StoneBankBlog.wordpress.com

Preserving a traditional weaving technique near Cusco

17 Jan

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We spent part of Tuesday in Chinchero visiting the Center for Traditional Textiles of Cusco where local women gather to preserve their traditional weaving method.  The traditional indigenous weavers use the back strap loom, which dates back to pre-Columbian times, to create their textiles. When we arrived, the weavers handed each of us a poncho to wear and a cup of tea to sip on.  Nilda Callañaupa leads the women and explained to us how they create a piece, from hand-spinning the yarn to weaving the actual textile and finishing the borders.  Nilda’s co-op differs from the others that we’ve visited because customers can visit their store and purchase products there on a regular basis.

Photos by Lacey Weninger and Sharon Kessler

A taste of Perú, sweet Perú

17 Jan

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Here is just a sampling of the delicious desserts we were lucky enough to try while in Perú. A lot of the desserts contain unique fruits not familiar to U.S. residents, such as lúcuma (a subtropical fruit native to the Andes of Perú).  We have noticed that the desserts and drinks here are much sweeter than what we are accustomed to. Just grab a bottle of Inca Kola, the nation’s favorite soft drink, and see for yourself!

Photos by Brita Dallmann, Lacey Weninger and Megan Roltgen

 

The ascent to Ollantaytambo

17 Jan

The breath-taking site that is Ollantaytambo was constructed in the mid-1400s by the Incas.  Sitting at about 9,160 feet above sea level, Ollantaytambo was created as the personal estate and military fort for Inca emperor Pachacuti, and is also considered the home of South America’s most beautiful fountain, which was carved in the shape of the Inca cross.

Exploring the site is no easy feat.  To reach the top, it is required to scale a seemingly endless set of stone stairs.  If you are lucky enough to still be breathing by the time you arrive at the summit, you are rewarded with a striking view of the valley, town and other ruins nearby.

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Slideshow produced by Brita Dallmann.  Photos by Brita Dallmann, Megan Roltgen and Lacey Weninger.

Sacsayhuamán ruins spark amazement at Incan ingenuity

16 Jan

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As the famous Quechuan-Spanish author Garcilaso de la Vega wrote:

This fortress surpasses the constructions known as the seven wonders of the world.  For in the case of a long broad wall like that of Babylon, or the colossus of Rhodes, or the pyramids of Egypt, or the other monuments, one can see clearly how they were executed.  They did it by summoning an immense body of workers and accumulating more and more material day by day and year by year.  They overcame all difficuties by employing human effort over a long period.  But it is indeed beyond the power of imagination to understand how these Indians, unacquainted with devices, engines, and implements, could have cut, dressed, raised, and lowered great rocks, more like lumps of hills than building stones, and set them so exactly in their places.  For this reason, and because the Indians were so familiar with demons, the work is attributed to enchantment.

Textbooks and Garcilaso couldn’t prepare us for seeing Sacsayhuamán in person.  This  archeological site is overlooking Cusco, about 12,500 feet above sea level, and its walls contain boulders so precisely cut that a piece of paper will not fit between many of them — even after 500 years and dozens of earthquakes. Though appearing to be a fortress, many researchers believe it was actually a temple devoted to sun worship.

It remains a wonder how humans used nothing but handmade rollers, ramps, levers and chisels to mine, transport, carve and precisely fit together boulders weighing up to 200 tons!

Raqchi ruins reveal Inca temple

15 Jan

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Prominent on the road between Puno and Cusco are the world’s largest Inca temple ruins, at Raqchi. Central to the ruins is the Temple of Wiracocha, which is 300 feet long — the length of a U.S. football field — by about 80 feet wide and 60 feet high, with Inca stonework covering the first 13 feet high and adobe the rest. The Incas built the temple and surrounding quarters and granaries in the 15th century, only to have the Spanish conquistadors knock much of it down around 1540 and later build their own church in its shadow. Located on the ancient Inca Road in a beautiful valley still some 11,500 feet above sea level, Raqchi remains home to artisenias, farmers and small ranchers.

Slide show produced by Mike Dorsher. Photos by Sharon Kessler, Mike Dorsher, Lacey Weninger, Phyllis Highman and Megan Roltgen.