DAVID NUNUK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID NUNUK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Sun altar. Granite outcrop carved to form an altar called the hitching post of the Sun (Intihuatana). This is a relic of the Incas, a people that ruled an extensive empire in their native Andean regions of northern South America in the 15th and 16th centuries. The Incas worshipped the Sun and held many elaborate ceremonies to mark important events such as the winter solstice. At this time of the year the Incan priests would 'tie' the Sun to the hitching post to halt its northward movement in the sky. The Intihuatana stones were supremely sacred to the Incas, with many being destroyed by the invading Spanish conquistadors. Photographed in the mountain city of Machu Picchu, Peru.
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