Amazing Facts About Machu Picchu Table of Contents
One of the most famous archaeological sites in the entire world is Machu Picchu, which is situated in the Andes Mountains of Peru. History buffs, archaeologists, and tourists all share a fascination with this Incan stronghold from the 15th century. Here are the top seven most fascinating facts about Machu Picchu:
An American Adventurer Rediscovered Machu Picchu
Hiram Bingham, an American adventurer, rediscovered historic Incan city of Machu Picchu in Peru in 1911. Bingham was in Peru on a quest to find Vilcabamba, the final Inca capital, which he thought would be there. A local farmer who had long heard about the ruins guided him to Machu Picchu. The discovery was shocking to Bingham and his team, who were guided there by the farmer.
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The ancient city of Machu Picchu was covered in greenery after being abandoned for so long. Bingham’s team cleared the site and took pictures of the structures for several months. The structures in the ruins, which were all built using the distinctive Inca method of putting stones together without cement, included temples, palaces, and dwellings. In the realm of archaeology, the discovery of Machu Picchu created a sensation. Today, it is one of the most well-liked travel sites worldwide.
Despite the fact that Hiram Bingham is credited with finding Machu Picchu, he wasn’t the first person to visit the location. One of the best facts about Machu Picchu is that the ruins had long been known to local farmers and workers from neighboring towns, and there are even rumors that a German engineer may have visited the location in the late 1800s.
Some academics also contend that the Spanish conquistadors might have been aware of Machu Picchu and other Inca towns but decided not to document their discoveries or divulge their whereabouts to anyone. Yet Bingham’s expedition was the first to fully record and publicize the location, which led to its designation as an important archaeological and cultural asset.
The Incas Did Not Use Mortar
Machu Picchu’s architecture is an amazing achievement in design and engineering. The Incas erected the site on a rocky mountain slope, utilizing dirt and stone to form terraces for houses and farming. Retaining walls were constructed to prevent landslides, and a complex drainage system was employed to stop flooding during the rainy season. One of the amazing facts about Machu Picchu is that it has never seen a significant flood or landslide in its more than 500-year history because of the drainage system’s effectiveness.
The stones were cut and fitted together with extreme precision, which is one of the construction’s most impressive features. Instead of using mortar, the Incas sculpted each stone to fit perfectly with the others around it. Because of how precisely the stones were carved, not even a blade of grass could pass between them. One of the distinguishing characteristics of Incan architecture is the use of this method, known as ashlar masonry, all across Machu Picchu.
The method used to bring the stones to the site during its construction is another one of the incredible facts about Machu Picchu. Around 50 tons of stones, many of which were quarried from mountains miles away, were utilized in the building. The Incas are thought to have moved the stones into position using a combination of ramps, levers, and ropes. In order to move the stones across great distances, they also employed a system of relay runners, who passed the stones from one team of workers to another. Because of this, the Incas were able to move big stones incredibly quickly and finish building Machu Picchu relatively quickly.
Machu Picchu’s Incredible Location Among the Clouds
This ancient city is situated in an outstanding and breathtakingly gorgeous area. A mountain crest at an elevation of 7,970 feet served as the foundation for the city, which was encircled by craggy peaks and deep valleys. It was purposefully constructed in a place that provided accessibility and protection. The placement atop a ridge provided easy access to the surrounding valleys and mountain ranges, while the rocky terrain and sheer cliffs offered a natural defense.
The setting of Machu Picchu is breathtakingly beautiful. The area is surrounded by lush, green flora, cloud forests, and tropical woods. A striking backdrop is provided by the imposing Andes Mountains, whose snow-capped summits reach heights of nearly 22,000 feet. The site’s advantageous location at the convergence of two significant Andes fault lines also made it possible to build Machu Picchu’s famed tiered architecture. Ultimately, Machu Picchu is one of the most remarkable and iconic ancient towns in the world thanks to its strategic location, natural beauty, and amazing geographic setting.
Machu Picchu Is a Sacred City
Machu Picchu was thought to have been a sacred location for the Inca culture. The site was built in the 15th century and is situated in Peru’s Andes Mountains. Machu Picchu is thought to have been constructed as an Inca religious and spiritual center, used for worship and ceremonial rituals.
Machu Picchu was built to give the Inca people a location to worship and perform religious ceremonies. The location was also thought to be a refuge for the Inca emperors, and it functioned as a representation of their authority and status. The Incas constructed the site high in the mountains, encircled by jagged cliffs and verdant trees, to keep outsiders away because they thought the location was so sacred.
Once the Incas left Machu Picchu in the sixteenth century, it was lost to history until 1911, when American historian Hiram Bingham rediscovered it. Nowadays, Machu Picchu is one of the most well-liked tourist sites in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Tourists can tour the historic sites and discover more about the Inca civilization’s history and culture. The location serves as a potent reminder of the Incas’ accomplishments and their close ties to the spiritual world.
Machu Picchu Has More Than 200 Structures
One of the largest and most intricate archaeological monuments in the world, Machu Picchu is a massive and majestic ancient citadel made up of over 200 buildings. The buildings, which span a surface area of more than 32,000 hectares, include everything from temples and palaces to homes and water fountains. The sheer magnitude of Machu Picchu is evidence of the Inca civilization’s extraordinary ability and inventiveness in building such a large and intricate city in such a difficult and hostile terrain.
The Temple of the Sun, the Royal Palace, and the Intihuatana Stone are some of the most important buildings found among the Machu Picchu ruins. Beautifully constructed, the Temple of the Sun served as a venue for rituals and astronomical observations. It has enormous windows that are well positioned to catch the sunrises on the solstice and equinox.
The Royal Palace is another of the amazing facts about Machu Picchu. This huge building has more than 200 rooms that was probably used as a home for Inca nobles. The Incas used the Intihuatana Stone, a distinctive landmark, as a solar clock. It is a substantial stone pillar, over six feet tall, and it faces the four cardinal directions. These magnificent buildings, along with the other others in the city, continue to enthrall tourists and offer a window into the ancient and sophisticated world of the Inca civilisation.
Machu Picchu Is Almost Indestructible
Machu Picchu is well known for its extraordinary resistance to earthquakes. The city has held up exceptionally well despite being located on a fault line and having experienced countless earthquakes over the years. A number of elements, including the site’s strong construction, advantageous location, and use of natural geological features to absorb shock waves, are responsible for its resilience.
The “ashlar masonry” method, in which big stones are precisely shaped and fitted together without the use of cement, was used to build the structures at Machu Picchu. By using this technique, a structure is made that is compact and stable and is less prone to crumble after an earthquake. The city’s location on a high plateau surrounded by steep mountains also acts as a natural earthquake barrier.
The city was also constructed by Inca engineers using terraces and retaining walls, which serve as shock absorbers, releasing seismic energy before it can reach the buildings. As a result of all these elements working together, Machu Picchu is one of the most earthquake-resistant structures in the world and is proof of the Incan civilization’s inventiveness and competence.
Machu Picchu Is Not “The Lost City of the Incas”
While being the most well-known Inca monument in Peru, Machu Picchu is not the only one that is cloaked in mystery and lore. In truth, Vilcabamba, a nearby province, is the setting for its own amazing tale of the “Lost City of the Incas,” a legendary fortress that the last Inca emperor, Manco Inca, is supposed to have erected as a sanctuary from the Spanish conquistadors in the 16th century.
Legend has it that after Cusco fell, Manco Inca and his supporters went into the bush, where they founded Vilcabamba, a new city, to escape the Spanish armies. Manco Inca was supposed to have ruled from his stronghold in the mountains and led attacks against the Spanish from the protection of his hidden city, making this city a stronghold of Inca resistance against the Spanish invaders.
Vilcabamba remained a secret for many years despite the Spaniards making several attempts to find and capture the city, which fueled legends of its enormous wealth and military prowess. The remaining remnants of the Inca resistance in Peru were put an end to when the Spanish eventually found and destroyed the city.
Due to the fame of Machu Picchu and other more accessible Inca remains, Vilcabamba is mostly a forgotten and ignored place today. Yet, the tale of the Lost City of Vilcabamba and El Dorado continues to be a fascinating and exciting part of history for those who are interested in the myths and tales of the Inca empire. It is a monument to the inventiveness and resiliency of the Inca people in the face of colonial conquest and dominance.
7 Facts about Machu Picchu Conclusion
That’s it, those are our 7 amazing facts about Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu is a historically significant place with a fascinating narrative that is awe-inspiring. The city’s unique identity as one of the most famous ancient settlements in the world is influenced by its geography, engineering, and culture. Machu Picchu is still a well-liked tourism destination for travelers from all over the world because of its indisputable historical value. Check read our other blog posts and think about signing up for one of our Machu Picchu excursions if you want to learn more about this amazing location. Make lifelong memories by seeing Machu Picchu for yourself and discovering its wonders.
Founder of Karikuy, an organization in Peru that brings travelers to visit and explore the country. Julio also runs the Karikuy Volunteer program and is the editor of this blog. Julio likes to write about his adventures in Peru as well as Peruvian folklore, mysteries and secluded locations.