Good afternoon and thank you for coming back for another #HolyThursday post! This week, I’m going to explore something a little different – the Ingapirca Ruins . I’m sure you all know about Macchu Pichu, but lesser-known Ingapirca provides a perfect example of the complex Inca religious structure with its many gods and ceremonies.
It’s a surprise we were able to visit the ruins because of the weather. As the bus carried us closer and closer to Ingapirca, it got cloudier and started raining heavier. So we decided to eat lunch first to see if the rain would stop long enough for us to tour the site. Thankfully, it did! The clouds cleared away, and we started the tour.
The Inca ruins are actually ruins built on top of other ruins, those of the Cañari people. Incas are known for their ability to synthesize their own culture with those of the people they conquered. As a result, Ingapirca has both influences.
The highlight of the tour was visiting the Sun Temple, which was built to honor the most important Incan god. The Incas believed in the power of the god of Sun, just like Christians believe in the Son (who stopped the rain for us to be able to visit!). The temple is beautiful, but it also has some very interesting features that truly demonstrate the ingenuity of these people. For example, the Incans had a very advanced understanding of architecture and mathematics that allowed them to build structures stronger than Ecuador’s many earthquakes. Architects designed a passageway in the shape of a trapezoid near the base of the temple to serve as a safe place during earthquakes. Of course, the special frame was not intended to help the common people – it was only for the high priests.
We finally were able to climb to the top of the temple, where Juan Alberto, our tour guide, gave us our own mini lecture in math. Drawing in the dirt, he modeled an ellipse, which is the shape of the temple itself. He also explained that the temple is built specifically so that on the afternoons of June 21 and December 21, the sun shines directly on the wall and casts a shadow along the interior stone wall. Another feature that impressed me was the perfection of the stone! It was so perfect that I couldn’t even slide my fingernail between them. To me, this level of detail and precision is even more impressive considering the Incas didn’t have power tools or digital machines.
Ingapirca certainly earns its name as the “Best preserved Incan ruins of Ecuador” for not only the temple, but also for the green grass, the grazing llamas, and the stone pathways. If you’re ever in Ecuador, please make time to visit Ingapirca!
Come back next week for another #HolyThursday. By then, Carnival will be over, and I’m sure there will be a lot of exciting things to share as Christians around the world prepare for Lent, the 40 days before Easter that prepare us for the Resurrection.