Shop Windows to the Universe

Arches National Park Geology Tour provides an extensive, visually rich description of the geology of Arches, by Deborah Ragland, Ph.D. See our DVD collection.
An aerial view of the lost city - Machu Picchu, Peru.
Click on image for full size
Courtesy of Corel Photography

President of Peru Visits Ancient Incan Sites
News story originally written on August 1, 2001

Peru's new president, Alejandro Toledo, was sworn in on July 28, 2001. The next day he took part in traditional ceremonies asking for the blessing of the Incan gods. Toledo is himself one of 16 children of an Andean Indian shepherd. Toledo is deeply concerned for the indigenous population of Peru, which has been largely overlooked by past government leaders (Toledo is in fact the first indigenous Peruvian to serve as president!). The new president has promised to fight poverty in Peru, create 1 million jobs, double teachers' salaries in five years and cut taxes. He has a large job ahead of him.

He started out his career as president asking for blessings in order to do that job. The traditional ceremonies took place at the Andean ruins of Machu Picchu and Cuzco. During one ceremony, villagers played conch shells, and a religious leader called on the gods to help Toledo fulfill his campaign promises to help the people of Peru.

Machu Picchu is located between two tall mountain peaks. The city had many levels and stands as a good example of how well the Incas utilized their surroundings. Even though many centuries have passed (and many earthquakes and other disasters have occurred!) since Machu Picchu was built, many of the stones still stand in their original location. The Incas were skilled builders! The ruins consist of remains of staircases, temples, terraces, palaces, towers, and fountains. Machu Picchu was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham, a U.S. explorer, in 1911.

Astronomical practices flourished in ancient Inca civilization. Inside the Intihuatana Shrine at Machu Picchu, there is a natural granite rock which is thought to have been used for astronomical observations. Much of Incan life was linked to the movement of the stars, especially the Sun.

Ancient Cuzco was also closely linked to the Sun. In fact, at the center of the ancient Cuzco, there was a Temple of the Sun called Coricancha. It is thought that Coricancha served as an observatory for solstices, equinoxes, eclipses and other important time markers. Religious rituals and daily life (such as in the planting of crops) were based on these time markers. From Coricancha emanated 42 sacred lines or ceques. Along these ceques, there were shrines or huacas that were important to the Incas. These huacas could be anything from canals to fountains to stone markers.

National Public Radio (NPR) covered Alejandro Toledo's first week as president in detail. Please see their site below for more information.

Last modified August 3, 2001 by Jennifer Bergman.

Shop Windows to the Universe Science Store!

Our online store includes books on science education, ranging from evolution, classroom research, and the need for science and math literacy!

Windows to the Universe Community

News

Opportunities

You might also be interested in:

Traveling Nitrogen Classroom Activity Kit

Check out our online store - minerals, fossils, books, activities, jewelry, and household items!...more

Cuzco

This is an aerial view of Cuzco. In the center of the picture, the cathedral of Cuzco can be seen. This cathedral was built in the 17th century. Cuzco is located in Southern Peru. It is the ancient capital...more

Mountain Building

Mountains are built through a general process called "deformation" of the crust of the Earth. One example of deformation comes from the process of subduction. When two sections of the Earth's lithosphere...more

Solar Eclipses

An eclipse of the Sun occurs when the Earth passes through the Moon's shadow. A total eclipse of the Sun takes place only during a new moon, when the Moon is directly between the Sun and the Earth and...more

1999--A Year in Review...

It was another exciting and frustrating year for the space science program. It seemed that every step forward led to one backwards. Either way, NASA led the way to a great century of discovery. Unfortunately,...more

STS-95 Launch: "Let the wings of Discovery lift us on to the future."

The Space Shuttle Discovery lifted off from Kennedy Space Center at 2:19 p.m. EST, October 29th. The sky was clear and the weather was great as Discovery took 8 1/2 minutes to reach orbit for the Unitied...more

Moon Found Orbiting Asteroid

A moon was discovered orbiting the asteroid, Eugenia. This is only the second time in history that a satellite has been seen circling an asteroid. A special mirror allowed scientists to find the moon...more

U.S. is Fed Up with Russia

Will Russia ever put the service module for the International Space Station in space? NASA officials are demanding an answer from the Russian government. The necessary service module is currently waiting...more

Windows to the Universe, a project of the National Earth Science Teachers Association, is sponsored in part is sponsored in part through grants from federal agencies (NASA and NOAA), and partnerships with affiliated organizations, including the American Geophysical Union, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Earth System Information Partnership, the American Meteorological Society, the National Center for Science Education, and TERC. The American Geophysical Union and the American Geosciences Institute are Windows to the Universe Founding Partners. NESTA welcomes new Institutional Affiliates in support of our ongoing programs, as well as collaborations on new projects. Contact NESTA for more information. NASA ESIP NCSE HHMI AGU AGI AMS NOAA