Ross Wehner

The Sacred Steps of the Inca

Step designs are found everywhere in important Inca ruins and are versions of the chacana, a sacred Andean symbol similar to the Christian crucifix. Learn more about the chacana—the key to understanding the spiritual beliefs of the Inca—and where to spot it.

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Cusco and Machu Picchu: Living History

Despite the conquest, Inca culture has proven remarkably resilient over the centuries, which creates the sensation of time standing still. Quechua, the Inca language that is spoken by six million Andean highlanders, is heard as often as Spanish along the narrow alleyways of Cusco. Inca Trail hikers who arrive at dawn at the Inti Punku, or Sun Gate, will see the fog rise gently from the terraces and perfect stone buildings of Machu Picchu, which was lost for centuries and therefore perfectly preserved.

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