HOW TO VISIT
The sanctuary of Machu Picchu is divided into two large sectors -
one the agricultural sector and the other the urban or the citadel -
of which the first surrounds the second. We could consider the peak
Wayna Picchu as a third sector.
The principal road to approach Machu Picchu, which comes from Cuzco
through the south (Qosqoñan), crosses the crest of the mountain and
goes to the entrance to the sanctuary after passing through areas
with isolated constructions - such as what is now called the
watchtower - posts for lookouts or guards, qolqa or granaries and
abundant agricultural terraces.
There were also other roads, such as that which made the river
accessible from the sanctuary on the northeast. At present a road
has been constructed for tourist visits, a road which did not exist
before and now runs parallel to the Qosqoñan.
The sanctuary properly speaking is a citadel made up of palaces and
temples, dwellings and storehouses, but above all for buildings
which clearly fulfill ceremonial religious functions, the more
luxurious and spectacular components of which are the mausoleums
carved in the rock.
The buildings as well as the plazas and the platforms that
constitute the urban sector are connected among themselves by a
system of narrow lanes or paths, mostly in the form of flights of
steps, which cross the terraces which follow a flat longitudinal
axis. The main platform of the urban sector is an extensive plaza -
the main plaza - which in turn divides the buildings into hanan ("above"
or "upper") and urin ("below" or "lower"). The urban sector was
surrounded by impediments to gaining access to the sanctuary such as
a defense wall and the deep and wide ditch, or dry moat, which
surrounded the whole complex, not as part of a military
fortification rather as a form of restricted ceremonial isolation.