Nexus Network Journal

, Volume 12, Issue 2, pp 321–341 | Cite as

At the Other End of the Sun’s Path: A New Interpretation of Machu Picchu

  • Giulio MagliEmail author


The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is usually interpreted as a “royal estate” of the Inca ruler Pachacuti. This idea is challenged here by a critical reappraisal of existing sources and a re-analysis of existing evidence. It is shown that such evidence actually point at a quite different interpretation suggested, on one hand, by several clues coming from the urban layout (the interior arrangement of the town, the ancient access ways, the position with respect to the landscape and the cycles of the celestial bodies in Inca times), and, on the other hand, by a comparison with known information about the Inca pilgrimage center on the Island of the Sun of Lake Titicaca. Altogether, these clues lead us to propose that Machu Picchu was intentionally planned and built as a pilgrimage center connected with the Inca “cosmovision”.


Machu Picchu Inca architecture Inca astronomy 


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Copyright information

© Kim Williams Books, Turin 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Dipartimento di MatematicaPolitecnico di MilanoMilanoItaly

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