The Lost City of the Incas – Going to Peru and not visiting Machu Picchu is like going to Paris and ignoring the Eiffel Tower, or in other words, it can’t be done. And indeed most people cannot overlook this important Pre-Columbian site as it is the most visited tourist attraction in this South American country.
What makes Machu Picchu so special? One reason is that Machu Picchu is the best-preserved remnant of the Inca Empire. Situated at an altitude of 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) of Machu Picchu (Old Peak), this site is stunning, very beautiful.
Built around 1450 for Emperor Pachacuti, the palace was abandoned a century later. Miraculously, the site escaped the looting and destruction of the Spanish conquistadores who destroyed all the Incas they could get their hands on.
Over the centuries, the site was overgrown with various kinds of plants. The lost Inca city remained untouched until 1911. That’s when Hiram Bingham, an American historian, and explorer, visited, on his way home from a conference in Chile, looking for Inca ruins. The magnificent estate is one of the most important archaeological ruins in the world.
Fortress in the clouds
This fort in the clouds is one of the finest examples of Incan architecture, built at a time when the Incas were at their peak. The structure of the building was constructed of stone, which was unusual for its time in any world. What makes Machu Picchu extraordinary are the stones that fit together without the use of mortar. The stones stuck together so tightly that not even a knife could be inserted between them. The stone construction blends perfectly with the surrounding mountains.
Machu Picchu – City Planning
Machu Picchu is laid out in sections. There is a town section and an agricultural section, an upper old town where the temple is located, and a new, lower town where warehouses can be found. In all, about 200 buildings can be found in Machu Picchu.
Temple of the Sun in the ruins of Machu Picchu, Peru
One of the most spectacular relics is the Temple of the Sun which overlooks the majestic Urubamba River, which surrounds the site on three sides, and the Sacred Valley below. This is another architectural marvel, which has an astrological feel to it. On the summer solstice, the sun shines through the windows of the temple, perfectly aligned with the rock that is built into the temple and the top of the mountain. Another remarkable element is the ceremonial stone known as the Intihuatana stone, which sits in a precise location that perfectly aligns with the two annual equinoxes.
Machu Picchu, however, was more than a lavish legacy to the Inca rulers. Due to its strategic location, Machu Picchu also served as a military stronghold, which may also have religious connotations as the temples were places of human sacrifices to appease the gods. Not everyone who was sacrificed was given a proper burial, and their bodies can be found at this location.
Terrace at Machu Picchu (The Lost City of the Incas )
Another stunning sight is the 700 stone terraces built into the slopes. This terrace has many uses, including as a plot to grow agricultural crops, save water, and prevent erosion.
You may also like:
Machu Picchu Summit (The Lost City of the Incas )
Today historians continue to study Machu Picchu, hoping to unearth more mysteries. The biggest question remains why the Incas built Machu Picchu. This may remain one of the greatest unsolved mysteries as the Incas had no written language.
There are several ways to get to Machu Picchu. Most people take the train from Cusco, 50 miles away, take the bus for the last mile. If you’re in top physical shape, you might consider taking a multi-day trek on the Inca Trail. This is the traditional route taken by generations of the Incas, and later Bingham, to reach the location. -The Lost City of the Incas –