Although most people associate Peru with the famous Inkan Empire, they were only one of many incredible civilizations who existed over time. What makes Peru so fascinating is not only the culture, but the physical beauty and diversity of the land. From the Peruvian Andes in the highlands, to the Amazonian rainforest and everywhere in between, you can find one of the most incredible collection of birds, exotic plants, interesting animals and most famously – the condor. If you didn’t know, the condor is the largest flying bird in the world and is a sight to behold.
You can travel from sea-level to almost 20,000 feet in the Cordillera Blanca (famous for trekking and mountaineering) to Lake Titicaca which at 12,500 feet is the highest navigable lake in the world! Needless to say, even with a bit of a stay in Cusco and Machu Picchu first, I did experience an incredible headache and nausea that even the striking beauty of the lake area did not ameliorate.
Cusco, is an adventure in and of itself and is known as our continent’s oldest continuously inhabited city. The famous Inkan, Manco Capac (who was the son of the sun) founded the city around the 12th century.
To do this he drove a golden rod into the earth, and from that point foward the city was called “the navel of the earth” or in Quechua, the native language, “qosqo”.
Archeologists believe that the Wari Indians may have been the actual earliest inhabitants of this area, but research is still ongoing. Although Cusco has a long and complex history, but what is most fascinating to me is the general layout of the city which resembles a puma, with the fortress of Sacsayhuaman as the head, the plaza of Huacaypata as navel, and the converging Huatanay and Tullumayo rivers as the tail.
In the Cusco area, and in Machu Picchu you can observe the remarkable Inka building and stone work. How they cut these massive pieces of stone (of up to 300 tons, mind you) to fit so perfectly that mortar was not needed, is still unknown to date. You cannot get a hair between these stones – which are still standing despite earthquakes and other disasters.
Speaking of Machu Picchu, it was discovered in 1911 by historian Hiram Bingham, who actually was looking for one city and ended up finding it by accident. Thankfully it was never discovered by the Spanish conquistadors and remained untouched until Bingham’s work there. No words can express the beauty and wonderment of this place. Here is a city built on top of a high mesa, in the middle of jungle, made of stones weighing tons – and we still do not understand how they accomplished this feat. Only by visiting this sacred site can you begin to appreciate the significance of its presence – archeologically, spiritually and astronomically.
I invite you to join us in Peru where we will be using the mythology of this unique culture to explore our divine nature and spirituality. Truly you will experience the magic and mystery of this ancient place and open your heart to these beautiful people. I look forward to seeing you on our next spiritual journey to Peru!
Blessings, Dr Sheri Rosenthal