Incas


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Incas

 

originally, an Indian tribe of the Quechua language group that inhabited Peru (South America) from the 11th to the 13th century; later, the ruling stratum in the state formed from a union of tribes. The formation of the Inca state—the Tawantin-suyu—dates from 1438. The state was a slave-holding despotate. The Incas levied a tribute from subjugated tribes and exploited the labor of ordinary commune members, artisans, and slaves— the yanacuna. The basic socioeconomic nucleus was the village commune—the ayllu. The land was regarded as belonging to the ruler—the Inca—whose power was encircled by a sacred halo. The first mythical ruler—Manco Capac—was revered as the sun’s offspring. The Incas used irrigation and erected buildings for military and administrative purposes. They devised a system for relaying information in the form of so-called knot-writing— quipu—as well as a rudimentary writing system. In 1532, Spanish conquerors, led by F. Pizarro, invaded the territory of the Incas. Their state was plundered and their culture destroyed. The Incas, after being subjugated by the Spaniards, became part of the Quechua nationality.

Inca architecture is known from descriptions and from numerous remains of buildings (temples, palaces, observatories, amphitheaters, and fortresses). Cyclopean structures made from colossal stones (the fortress of Sacsahuaman near Cusco) gave way to buildings of carefully hewn blocks of granite (the fortress of Pisac near Cusco). The Incas’ architecture is distinguished by the geometric simplicity of the low forms, solidity, and the almost complete lack of decoration. Vessels have been preserved, including figured ones, with brilliant black surfaces. The richest remains of the jeweler’s art, including the Curi-cancha (Golden Enclosure) of the Temple of the Sun in Cusco with plants, birds, butterflies, and figures of gold and silver, have almost completely perished.

REFERENCES

Kinzhalov, R. V. Iskusstvo drevnei Ameriki. Moscow, 1962.
Lara, J. La cultura de los Inkas [vols. l]–2. La Paz-Cochabamba, 1966–67.
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South America, once home to the ancient Inca civilisation.
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Price includes: return flight from Heathrow via Amsterdam to Lima, return airport to hotel transfers, stay in hand-picked three and four-star hotel on B&B basis, two meals inc, guided visit to Machu Picchu, the fabled 'Lost city of the Incas', visit Lima and its amazing Larco Herrara Museum, tour the Sacred Valley of the Incas, guided sightseeing tour of Cusco, once capital of the Inca empire, now one of South America's most enchanting cities, travel across the soaring Andes on the Orient-Express Andean Explorer, one of the greatest railway journeys in the world, visit the famous floating islands of Lake Titicaca, the highest navigable lake in the world.