The Inca Empire: Religious Significance In Machu Picchu

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The Inca Empire was shrouded in misunderstanding and mystery; the way it worked was/is so dissimilar to what most Western societies would consider basic societal, organizational, or religious foundations for a governing body or empire, that when it was first seen by European (specifically Spanish) eyes, it was completely alien and incomprehensible. The Inca Empire had no “economy” as we know it, they had no concept of “money” as a stand in for physical goods, instead they traded and bartered for those physical goods directly. While, the plebeians did get taxed (and were taxed extremely efficiently), they were taxed what they made, ex. Potatoes, corn, labour, wool and cloth from alpacas and llamas etc (examples pictured to the left and right).…show more content…
Because the Inca religion was so centered around nature, like the Sun God and Mother Earth, “many natural formations like a river, mountain, lake, were considered as an origin point” of sacredness, the city is located high in the Andes and had several small artificial rivers or streams running through it(Religious Significance in Machu Picchu). The natural look of Machu Picchu is no coincidence either, the school of thought was that the way to honor the gods and live a holy life, was to live in close proximity to nature to show your appreciation to the gods, thus the “accommodation of its architecture to the landscape is so complete that Machu Picchu seems a natural part of the mountain ranges that surround it on all sides” (Gardener). The religious metaphor does not stop at the closeness to nature, instead it extends. The condor (pictured below) is a sacred animal in Inca tradition that is supposed to show one how to “transcend from our state of mind and liberate from our body to feel the freedom in our soul and essence”, and evidence has been found to prove that the name of a sacred temple in Machu Picchu was Condor, meaning that in the temple, you would find liberation (Religious Significance in Machu Picchu). Another stunning example of religion in Machu Picchu is the Solstice room…show more content…
Tikal is a city “located in the north of the Petén region of Guatemala, [and] was a major city which flourished between 300 and 850 CE”(Cartwright). While the city is located on ground level, the urban planning of Tikal shows much forethought as it “consists of nine different plazas and courts connected by causeways and ramps and has, in all, over 3,000 structures” (Cartwright). The towering structures are mammoth in size, but are given room to breath because “the buildings are spread over some 15 square kilometres, and so the city was relatively low in density”(Cartwright). Though the Maya and the Inca practiced different religions, they both had animal worship and reverence through art. The religious aspects of mayan culture is easily seen in the architecture of the great city as many stones are inscribed with messages describing or paying homage to their gods (the Maya had a written language). They also created upright stone slabs called “stelae” (pictured to the right on the page before) that bore commemorations, infact, “the oldest example of these stelae in Mesoamerica was discovered at Tikal and dates to 292 CE. It shows a ruler holding in his left hand the Jaguar God of the Underworld, probably a patron god of

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