And the monuments it links
A vast network of roads crisscroseed the land of the Incas. John Hyslop (1992), calculated that in total the system covered more than 23,000 kilometres. It crossed desert and mountain, and the Spanish chronicler piedro cieza de leon (1553) commented with astonishment that the Inca roads were “made with great difficulty in that harsh and impenetrable land, and provoke admiration”. The roads were partly built over routes already established before the rise of the Inca state. The Inca Road system was known as the Inka Ñan (Inka Biam) or Qhapaq Ñan (“Royal Road”). The main highways were reserved for the state and not open to the general populace, and at bridges travellers were strictly controlled. The populations in the vicinity were obliged to maintain the roads in good condition.
Today, the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu beginsat Qorihuayrachina, an archaeological site located at Kilometre 88 of the railway line from Cusco to Machu Picchu. It is also possible to begin the trail at Piscacucho at Kilometre 82, or Chilca at Kilometre 77, reached by the present-day road.
Another access route to Machu Picchu was Discovered by Fernando Astete in July 1995. This route, clearly of Inca Construction, had been buried by a landslide long ago. Astete states that this and other paths led to Machu Picchu via the left bank of the Urubamba river. The path discovered by Astete begins at Kilometre 104 of the cusco-Machu Picchu railway, before the Machu Picchu station, near the ruins of Chachabamba. It passes the ruins of Wiñay Wayna before joining the Inca Trail from Qoriwayrachina to Machu Picchu. The Chachabamba route covers some twenty punishing kilometres, climbing steps cut intro the almost vertical rock. A 37 metre footbridge, built by Sonia Guzman, crosses the Urubamba Vilcanota river, where an Inca suspension bridge would have originally stood. Another trail, which leads from Choquesuysuy (Tshoqesuisui) to Machu Picchu, via Wiñay Wayna, Discovered and travelled for the first time by Jose Koechlin, will be mentioned later.
From Qoriwayrachina, the hike to Machu Picchu is made in three or four days, overnighting at established campsites. On the way, three passes must be crossed; Warmiwañusqa (4200 metres above sea level), Runkuraqay or Runturaqai-i (3950 metres) and a third just before descending to Phuyupatamarka (Phuyupatamarka). On this route a 20 metre-long tunnel leads to Sayakmarka (Sayakmarka) and Phuyupatamarka. The road allows walkers to admire the structure of Inca Highways and, in addition to the thrill of using such a road, visit the archaeological sites along the route, such as Wiñay Wayna and Phuyupatamarka, which rival Machu Picchu as Testaments to the colonizing efforts of the Incas in the Amazonian Andes. Travellers will enjoy beautiful scenery, amid exotic tropical flora and the snow-capped peaks that dominate the horizon, such as Salkantay (6271 metres), Pumasillo (6010 metres) and, in the distance, Veronica / Huaquaiwilca (metres), all of which can be seen from the archaeological site of Phuyupatamarka.