As the world is aware of the contributions of the ancient Eygptians, the same is undeniably true of the ancient Incas. The Inca Empire was established in Pre-Columbian America in what is now Peru from 1438 to 1533 C.E. This time period represents the pentacle of this powerful civilization. Known originally as the Kingdom of Cuzco, the Inca Empire moved through the western part of South America in conquest and peaceful integration. The empire centered on the mountain ranges of the Andes. Upon visiting, you get a sense of the physical ability the ancient Inca must have had to build trails, structures, temples, and fortresses at such an elevation. The end of the Inca Civil War marked the beginning of Spanish rule. The last remnants of the Incan Empire were conquered by the Spanish in 1572. Many wonder how the Spanish were able to move in and conquered this great people. It happened much like the English and the Native Americans in North America. The natives were hospitable and helpful and totally unaware of the European intention.
The official language of the empire was Quechua even though hundreds of local languages could be heard spoken during the empire’s prime. Many modern-day Peruvians still speak the ancient language of their ancestors.
The ancient Inca loved nature and the earth so it should be of no surprise that the chief god was Inti, the sun god. Many of the structures built by the Inca bring reverence to this god. In Cuzco, there is a monument to this god as well as a beautiful fountain. Many of the corridors at Machu Picchu were built in such a way as to allow for the sun rays to shine through exact openings. With the clouds passing through, you can imagine what this place must have been like when it was a busy city. One of the myths of the Incas is that the sun god told his wife he was lonely. She then proposed that he create a great civilization to worship him and keep him company. He listened to her wisdom and did just that.
You can read all there is on the history of the Incas but there is nothing like walking the trails or seeing the ancient sites for yourself first hand. Travel to Cuzco and have a drink in the city center as you watch the locals and tourists make their way through. Grab a car and take it across the country side to the Inca town of Ollantaytambo. This town was actually built by the Incas and is a great way to see how they planned their narrow streets and home dwellings with little courtyards. Continue on to Machu Picchu which is recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. You will not be disappointed. You can do all these things individually or plan an all-inclusive tour with one of the premier tour companies such as Discover Inca Planet and let them handle all the accommodations and tickets for you. It’s a great, affordable, hassle-free way of stepping back in time to the Inca Empire and its grand influence.