South America – Those Clever Incas

Did you know that Cusco is shaped liked a puma? In fact, most of the Inca cities are shaped like some sort of an Inca-worshipped animal.

Of course the present-day urban sprawl isn't pictured, but those Inca's were quite clever!

Of course the present-day urban sprawl isn’t pictured.

Those Inca’s. They were quite a clever bunch!

Cusco has several beautiful squares, one of which is the starting point for a free walking tour. The tour mostly covers a history of Cusco, highlighting stories of each of the Inca kings.

I could not tell you what that giant, white, official looking building is on the main drag … however, I can tell you how the Inca empire came to an end because the heir to the throne died in the jungle and the other heirs couldn’t get along enough to continue the Inca reign.

(Add some greedy, 1500s catholic Spaniards to the mix and the Inca empire ended as quickly as it began).

Pachacuti, the best Inca king who stopped all sacrifices.

Pachacuti, the best Inca king who stopped all sacrifices.


Sure they killed people as sacrifices … but they were smart and fascinating. Those Incas:

  • Had universities, clay roofs, and food storage houses on mountain tops to act as giant refrigerators.
  • Built roads to all their locations, but unfortunately this was the way the Spaniards were able to find and loot all their cities. However, one of the Inca kings ordered the destruction of the road to Machu Picchu before the Spaniards arrived, which preserved it!
  • Knew that they had to build their temples to withstand earthquakes, so placed spacer rocks between large stones to absorb shocks. What!
  • Built things in twos
  • Worshipped pumas, condors, and snakes
  • Believe in reincarnation
  • Aligned all their buildings with the equinox periods, so that on June 21 when the sun was just right, you could see a line of sunshine in all the temples.

Considering they hadn’t invented the wheel (apparently), I think they did pretty well.


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