Machu Picchu was build at the height of the Inca Empire around 1450 but abandoned just over a century later in 1572 after the Spanish arrival in Peru.
Machu Picchu is located 2430 meters (7970 feet) above sea level on a ridge between the Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountains in Peru.
In the Quechua Indian language, “Machu Picchu” means “Old Peak” or “Old Mountain.”
Machu Picchu is also known as the Lost City of the Incas.
Machu Picchu was built in a typical Inca style, with beautiful, polished dry-stone walls of quarried granite stone.
Machu Picchu is made up of more than 150 buildings ranging from baths and houses to temples and sanctuaries.
The primary archaeological treasures of Machu Picchu are: The Main Temple of the Machu Picchu located at the highest position of the city.In the temple are seven trapeze-shaped niches on the central wall and five on each side wall.
The Temple of the Sun, also known as the Torreon may have served as a primitive solar observatory.A semi-circle shaped temple that at once time was thought to have gold and precious jewels inlaid in the door.It was dedicated to their greatest deity, the Sun.
The Intihuatana, it’s a stone located on the top of a hill. Access is via 78 steps which lead to a platform. It’s believed that this stone was used as calendar or an astronomic clock.
And Temple of the Three Windows is one of the foundations with the longest history in the sacred lost city of Machu Picchu.
The Incas were experts at using a building technique called ashlar in which blocks of stone
are cut so precisely as to fit together tightly without mortar.
Although many of the stones that were used to build the city were more than 22 kilograms (50 pounds), it is believed that no wheels were used to transport these rocks up the mountain. Rather, it is thought that hundreds of men pushed the heavy rocks up the steep mountain side.
Machu Picchu was only known locally until Yale Professor Hiram Bingham re-discovered the site in 1911. His book, The Lost City of the Incas, was based on his findings.
Bingham’s team excavated an estimated 40,000 artifacts to Yale University for further study including mummies, ceramics, silver statues, jewelry and bones. Peru has long wanted these artifacts back and an agreement was recently agreed for the majority of these items to be returned.
Since re-discovery over 30% of Machu Picchu has been reconstructed to give a better idea of how the original structures looked, restoration continues today.
It was named a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981, and two years later, in 1983 UNESCO classified it as a World Heritage Site.
Thanks to an internet and cell phone messages in 2007, it was voted as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
You might know that you can trek up Machu Picchu for free. However, the trail upwards is steep and strenuous, taking approximately 90-minutes in total, but at the top, the views is amazing!
Every year marathoners race along the 42 kilometers (26 mile) long Inca Trail. The fastest time is 3-hours and 26-minutes.