Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

Ancient City - Advanced



T he city of Machu Picchu is the most famous and best-preserved remnant of the Inca civilization located high in the mountains of modern-day Peru. It was built 7,710 feet (2,350 m) above sea level somewhere between 1438 and 1472, during the reign of Pachacuti Inca. In 1983, Machu Picchu was proclaimed a World Heritage site by UNESCO, and in 2007 it became one of the new Seven Wonders of the World.

The city was built during the most prosperous period of the Inca Empire and was made up of temples, baths, palaces, servants’ quarters and storage facilities all constructed entirely without using cement. This unique style of building is one of the reasons the site draws so much attention. Large stones were fit together so well that they have remained in place long after the engineers who designed them left. In the 16th century, the Spanish came to South America, destroying and plundering most of the Incan cities. Thanks to its secluded location, Machu Picchu survived the Spanish invasion unknown and untouched. The city itself was abandoned around this time. However, the reason for this remains a mystery to this day.

After the fall of the Inca Empire, the site lay largely forgotten. Years later, in 1911, Machu Picchu was rediscovered by Hiram Bingham, a man who was searching for the lost city of Vilcabamba, where the last Incan leader was captured by the Spanish. During his search, he stumbled upon Machu Picchu and wrongfully believing it was Vilcabamba, named it the “Lost City of the Incas.” An article about Machu Picchu was published in the April 1913 edition of National Geographic magazine.

Ever since it was agreed that Machu Picchu was not the Lost City, there have been many theories about the purpose of the city in the sky. Some believed that it was a religious site, others that it was a prison or a place used for the coronation of new kings. Today most archaeologists believe Machu Picchu was a retreat for Incan emperors and aristocrats.

Today Machu Picchu is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Peru. During the height of tourist season, over 2,500 people visit the ruins every day. Some of the most popular attractions on the site include the Temple of the Sun and Huayna Picchu, a peak high above Machu Picchu which offers incredible views of the city and mountains below.

Travelers to Machu Picchu typically start their journey in the city of Cusco. From here there are many ways to get to Machu Picchu. Private taxis, group minivans, hiking tours, local buses and even a train will take visitors to the Aguas Calientes, or Machu Picchu Pueblo. The city of Aguas Calientes sits beside a rushing river at the base of a mountain. From here Machu Picchu is only a 1-2 hour hike or 15-minute bus ride away. Tourists following this route usually wake up around 4 am to enjoy the morning views on top of the mountain at one of the most mysterious wonders of the world.

Source: http://www.peru-machu-picchu.com/history.php,
https://www.history.com/topics/machu-picchu

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