The Incredible Machu Picchu

usha kiran By usha kiran, 15th Aug 2010 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL
Posted in Wikinut>Travel>South America>Peru>Cusco & Around

The ruins of Machu Picchu were rediscovered in 1911 by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham, and have been described as one of the most beautiful and enigmatic ancient sites in the world.

Machu Pichu - Historical Peruvian sanctuary..

Machu Picchu which means "Old Mountain or Old Peak " is a pre-Columbian Inca site located 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level. It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru. Most archaeologists tend to believe that Machu Picchu was built by one of the most powerful Inca emperor Pachacutec (1438–1472). In the 15th century, Emperor Pachacutec built a city in the clouds on the mountain known as Machu Picchu . This extraordinary settlement lies halfway up the Andes Plateau, deep in the Amazon jungle and above the Urubamba River .

It is often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas", and is perhaps the most familiar and famous icon of Peru.
The ruins of Machu Picchu were rediscovered in 1911 by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham, and have been described as one of the most beautiful and enigmatic ancient sites in the world.

While the Inca people certainly used the Andean mountain top (9060 feet elevation), erecting many hundreds of stone structures from the early 1400’s, legends and myths indicate that Machu Picchu was revered as a sacred place from a far earlier time. Whatever its origins, the Incas turned the site into a small (5 square miles) but extraordinary city that is invisible from below and completely self-contained. It is surrounded by agricultural terraces , which were carefully crafted , sufficient to feed the population, and watered by natural springs in the mountains.

There are also indications that Machu Pichu was used by the Incas to hold secret ceremonials and perhaps human sacrifices..The ruins have palaces, baths, temples, storage rooms and houses, all in a remarkable state of preservation. These structures, carved from the gray granite of the mountain top are wonders of both architectural and aesthetic genius ..

According to the existing records Machu Picchu was built around 1450, at the height of the Inca Empire and was abandoned a 100 odd years later after a Spanish conquest.

Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.It has also been voted as one the New Seven Wonders of the World in a worldwide Internet poll.

This impressive and enigmatic Inca city when it was built by the Incas was meant to be inaccessible. It lies on a narrow peak wedged into a narrow river valley miles from any areas suitable for large-scale farming. Until it was rediscovered by the American archeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911, nobody knew about it apart from a few Peruvian locals. Even today, the only road in the area is a winding narrow path that carries tourists up on a bus from Aguas Calientes town at the base of the mountain.

This incredible city has been attracting an interesting crowd of tourists, historians, archeologists, New Age Hippies and others. According to visitors , besides the fascinating Inca architecture and scale of this site, Machu Picchu owns much of its glory to its unique location. Every time one enters the city, one cannot help it but have to gasp in wonder …most of the history of Machu Picchu is still unknown, even though there are many books on the subject, a lot of their content is pure speculation. This mystery that surrounds the city makes it all the more interesting and fascinating .Visitors are spell bound after visiting this marvelous city that appears to be some sort of mirage appearing and disappearing from a veil of clouds.

According to Archeologists , Inca architecture was among the finest existing prehistoric architecture in the world as seen at Machu Pichu . The building style is characterized by exquisitely cut masonry, placed together completely without mortar. The raw material was granite, worked by stone and sand into irregular shapes that fit together like a gigantic puzzle. Apparently , some stones have as many as thirty facets worked into the surface, and as a result, the faces of the stone fit together so tightly that even a needle will not fit between them.

There are many unanswered questions regarding the city as to what purpose did the city up in the mountain serve? There are many theories and speculations - Some say that it was a holiday retreat for the Cusco Royal family and the location of a royal temple supports this theory. There were no accounts of Machu Picchu in any of the much-studied chronicles of the Spanish invasion and occupation. There was nothing to document that it even existed at all, let alone its purpose.

Archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was abandoned between about 1534 and 1570 after the Spanish invasion. A few historic Spanish artifacts have been found at Machu Picchu which give credence to that theory . Also evidence of several fires at Machu Picchu has been identified, particularly in the area known as the Torreon, which was thought to have held the mummy of King Pachacuti himself. The fires were most probably the work of the Spanish army , who attempted to obliterate the old Incan religion.

Today,Machu Pichu is one of the most sought after travel destinations in the world. Most tourists prefer to take the Inca trail trek which takes you through the Inca’s mountains surrounded by amazing sceneries, the magic of the Andes Mountains surrounded by beautiful landscape and nature along the way.
On the way one gets to enjoy not only the Incas’ valley, snow-capped mountains but also other Inca’s buildings… The ancient Incas created a vast network of roads and trails that they called Capaq Nan .Today one can still hike on parts of this Incan road system that are paved with the original stones that were placed there by the Incas. This ancient Incan trail starts near the town of Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley and ends at Machu Picchu. According to some travellers this Inca trail is even more incredible than Machu Picchu itself, in that there are numerous amazing ruins along the trail . Apparently ,this Trail wanders over high passes, offering incredible vistas of mountains with glaciers and the bright green valleys of tropical rain forest. Along the Inca Trail, you will also encounter prehistoric Incan stonework and abandoned settlements and sentinels before arriving at the end of the trail at Machu Picchu.

The site is a source of national pride for Peru, as well as a valuable tourist attraction. However, with an increase in international interest and tourism comes an increase in pollution, a need for hotels and other facilities, and the need to protect the lost city that the Western world didn’t know existed.


Emperor Pachacutec, Incas, Incredible, Machu Picchu, Mirage, Peru, Sacrifice, The Lost City Of The Incas, Urubamba River, Valley

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author avatar usha kiran
I love to write and interact....I am a teacher/housewife and a mother of three grown up children..

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