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The indigenous people have been around for a long time. They dress distinctively. The women wear bright white shirts with embroidered flowers and long black skirts, multiple layers of gold beads around their necks, and their long, glossy hair wrapped with a ribbon in the back. Men wear black felt hats covering their long braided hair, wearing wool ponchos, and often with bright white pants. They both wear a sandal that looks like a flat espadrille. The people themselves are small – I am taller than almost every man here at 5’6″ – but they have broader chests that allow them to easily breathe at such a high altitude.

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Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished, dry-stone walls. The Incas were masters of this technique, called ashlar, in which blocks of stone are cut to fit together tightly without mortar. Many junctions in the central city are so perfect that it is said not even a blade of grass fits between the stones.

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The art of weaving for more than 2000 years.

Myth has it that Our Mother Moon, taught the first woman how to weave at the beginning of time. Since then, mothers have taught their daughters, from generation to generation uninterruptedly for two thousand years. In addition to its important religious and social aspects, historically weaving has been central to indigenous women’s economic contribution to their households. In a traditional Inca context, when a girl is born, the midwife presents her with the different instruments of weaving one by one and she says, “Well then, little girl” “This will be your hand” “This will be your foot” “Here is your work” “With this, you’ll look for your food” “Don’t take the evil path,” “Don’t steal” “When you grow up” “Only...

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