Photo: Machu Picchu
Researchers at the National Archaeological Park of Machu Picchu in southeastern Peru have discovered a previously unknown stretch of the Inca Road leading to the fortress, and whichc could ease access to that tourist destination, the Cuzco cultural authority said.
The new stretch of the Inca Road goes from the Wayraqtambo (Inn of the Winds) area on the other side of the mountain from the citadel to a platform where the archaeological site of Machu Picchu can be seen from a totally different angle, the Culture Ministry said on its Web site.
The Wayraqtambo area is located behind the mountain of Machu Picchu among the archaeological sites of Wiñay Huayna and Intipata on the current Inca Road that leads to the archaeological center.
The part just discovered is 1.5 kilometers (almost 1 mile) long by 1.2 to 1.4 meters (3 3/4 to 4 1/2 feet) wide, depending on the topography of the land.
The road is covered with vegetation, but some parts have been cleared of weeds and scrub by the park’s researchers so that containing walls 3 meters (9 3/4 feet) high can be observed.
The head of the archaeological park, Fernando Astete, said that one of the most important finds is a tunnel 5 meters (16 feet) long at a height of 2,700 meters (8,850 feet) in the Andes.
Astete added that the tunnel is one of the best examples of Inca engineering since it was built when the main road collapsed, and because of that, the Incas broke through the rock and opened the tunnel, which remains functional more than 500 years after its construction.
“This road ought to be restored as soon as possible due to its great value as cultural heritage,” the anthropologist said.
Machu Picchu is located on the edge of the jungle in southeastern Peru and to get there it is necessary to take the train from Cuzco or hike for several days along the Inca Road.