Antisuyu—Exotic and Forbidding Landscape
Located in the upper Amazon, Antisuyu had a rainforest environment marked by heavy rainfall, high humidity, and lush vegetation. It offered many natural resources, especially coca, medicinal plants, gold, and exotic bird feathers. Antisuyu's rainforest diseases, and resistance by tribal peoples, made the region difficult to conquer.
Controlling Water—Machu Picchu
Built as a residence for the Inka ruler Pachacutic, Machu Picchu stands on a high mountain ridge at the edge of Antisuyu. It has survived for centuries, thanks to ingenious methods for managing water. Heavy rainfall from December to March can cause landslides and erosion. Inka engineers devised ways to channel water where it was needed and to divert runoff away from roads and buildings.
Machu Picchu is a well-known icon of the Inka Empire. Clever engineering has enabled it to survive more than 500 years of torrential rainfall.
The coca plant is sacred to Andean people, who often make offerings of its leaves at holy sites. Adults chew coca leaves for energy while laboring, or to relieve altitude sickness and various other ailments. (Note that coca leaf is not cocaine.) The Inka state strictly controlled the production and distribution of coca, assigning teams of workers to tend and harvest the plant.