The Inca Drawbridge is not on the citadel site, itself, but about a twenty minute walk from the Guardhouse around the side of Mach Picchu Mountain. To reach the drawbridge requires a hike that is not difficult but presents a few hazards. The main hazard is that the pathway around Machu Picchu Mountain is along a narrow footpath with sheer drops of 1,000 feet to the valley floor below.
|Path along Machu Picchu Mountain|
The second potential hazard encountered on the day of our visit was frequent confrontations with the local fauna. While seemingly friendly, the llamas felt no urgency in making a pathway around them easy. With no wall in place along the path, a quick nudge by a llama might spell the end of a good day.
|Fauna grazing along the treacherous path|
Fortunately, the animals were quite docile and seemed more interested in grazing along the path than causing any intentional mischief. They even seemed to enjoy a chance at a photo op.
Making our way passed the llamas and a bend in the trail, the Inca Drawbridge is visible in the distance.
|First glimpse of Inca Bridge|
Another interesting feature of the wall is a series of "flying steps" protruding out from the wall face. Having a lengthy rise and no handhold, negotiating these steps would require great care and balance. The purpose of these flying steps is speculative but a reasonable conclusion is the these steps were used during the construction of the wall. Even if an attacker attempted access to the path from the steps, a defender could easily thwart any attempt.
|Inca Drawbridge showing "flying steps"|
|Flying Steps on Huayna Picchu|
While the arduous climb up Huayna Picchu was on Day 1, below is a near aerial view of the Machu Picchu citadel from the top of Huayna Picchu.
|View of MP Citadel from atop Huayna Picchu|
Having made the journey back from the drawbridge safely, time remained to make one more tour of the citadel itself before taking the shuttle back down the mountain. As we circumnavigated the main plaza, the sense of scale comes into perspective. The structures are massive. To provide a sense of the overwhelming nature of the structures, see the photos below with people for reference. Everything is built on a massive scale and is truly an awesome sight.
After one last photo, we headed back to the citadel entrance and awaited a shuttle. After a twenty minute ride down the mountain, the shuttle deposited us back in Aguas Calientes.
|Citadel with Huayna Picchu in background|
|Eastern Urban Sector|
|Steep stairway up to the Temple of the Three Windows|
|Temple of the Sun|
|Jon with Machu Picchu citadel in background|