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Machu Picchu: The Mysterious Lost City of the Incas

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Amara is a blogger and a writer. She loves adventures, and to explore new places.

Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas.

Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas.

If we look into history, we can see many glorious ancient marvels and cities of ancient civilizations, which make us think twice, how really did they do this?!

How could they do it with such precision and perfection if they didn't have access to modern machinery and technology? The left overs and ruins of their achievements and buildings remind us of their power and glory, one of which is the lost city of the Incas, Machu Picchu.

  • Location: Cuzco, Peru
  • Founded: c. 1450
  • Abandoned: 1572
  • Height: 2,430 meters (7,970 ft)
  • Culture: Inca civilization
  • Region: Latin America and the Caribbean

Geographical Location

The stone city of Machu Picchu is one of the most fascinating archaeological sites on the planet.

Located in the northwest of Cuzco, Peru, Machu Picchu is a testament of the power and refinement of the Inca people. It is located at 7,972 feet above sea level and surrounded by glorious mountains and mesmerising beauty of nature.

Geographical location of Machu Picchu.

Geographical location of Machu Picchu.

The Inca Empire

Machu Picchu was built by the order of the Emperor Pachacuti, one of the most important ruler of Inca.

During its prime Inca civilization stretched about 2500 miles (4023 kilometers) along south American Pacific coast line, from modern day Ecuador to Chile.

This distance is nearly equal to the horizontal width of the Continental United States. Built around the mid 15th century Machu Picchu is the stunning example of Inca's advanced engineering skills.

Inca's Unique Ingenuity

The Inca people constructed Machu Picchu's terraces, temples, and infrastructure with stones, even without the help of wheels or tools made of steel or iron.

One particularly noticeable aspect of their construction is the use of mortar, a material often used to bind stones together, as in modern times.

Machu Picchu often experienced earthquakes, but because of stones' exceptional cut and fit, they bounced during tremors and then easily set back to their original position. This engineering marvel has preserved Machu Picchu's remarkable position for over 500 years.

The site's geographic layout was found to be significant. Many of the man made as well as natural structures appear to align with astronomical events.

In the agricultural chapter, they made terraces for plantation at different levels. Each terrace level's temperature was found to be different than the other. This shows that they had a surprisingly advanced knowledge of agriculture.

In 1983, UNESCO described it as "an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to the Inca civilization".

Agricultural terraces

Agricultural terraces

Some Interesting Facts About Machu Picchu

  • Machu Picchu's literal meaning is "Old Mountains."
  • Machu Picchu is 100% man-made without the help of tools.
  • Many of the mysteries of this city are unresolved, to this day, including the exact role of this site in the Inca's sophisticated understanding of astronomy and domestication of wild plant species.
  • The city remained hidden for hundreds of years from the outside world. It was not until the early 20th century that a local farmer introduced Machu Picchu to outsiders when he led Yale University Professor, Hiram Bingham, to the site.
  • Machu Picchu's purpose is still a mystery to many archaeologist. Some theorise it may have served for ceremonial purposes, as a military stronghold, or as a retreat for nobility.
The city was divided into Agricultural, and Urban parts.

The city was divided into Agricultural, and Urban parts.

  • City was divided into two sections;
  1. Agricultural
  2. Urban
  • In the urban ruins, there were traces of various places, such as houses, cemeteries, sanctuaries, and also a sun dial, found at the highest point of the city.
  • The city had a water supply from springs that could not be blocked easily.
The Sun dial.

The Sun dial.

  • The "sun dial" projected the shadow on different points on the artefact as the sun moved. In general, this calendar was associated with astronomical observations such as the seasons, passage of time, and weather conditions. The Inca people had remarkable astronomical knowledge.
The Sun Temple.

The Sun Temple.

  • Another sacred circular-shaped temple was found, which was dedicated to the Sun God, where ceremonies, sacrifices, and offerings were to take place. The temple also offered a commanding view of the sacred valley below.
  • The Inca had their own provincial governors, granaries, high altitude-agriculture, and an economic system called Mit'a.
  • Approximately 750 people lived there permanently, mostly as support staff, during its use as a royal estate.
  • The citizens provided labour, goods and military services in exchange for food and protection.
  • Studies show that people who lived there belonged to a diverse background and mostly were immigrants.
  • Early in the 16th century, only after 100 years of its building, the Machu Picchu was abandoned, and no written language or record was found to explain why it was built and then abandoned.
  • It is assumed that the city was abandoned when the Spanish attacked. However, there is not any evidence that the conquistadors ever attacked the city or even reached the mountaintop citadel.
  • Hiram Bingham became so famous after introducing Machu Picchu to the world that the train that transported tourists to the site was named after Hiram Bingham. He served as the governor of Connecticut and then as a member of the United States Senate.
  • He explored the site and took with him many artefacts found on it, to the United States. Artifacts were put on display at Yale University for many years, but then they were returned back to Peru after signing an accord.
  • In 1983, Machu Picchu was designated as a World heritage site by UNESCO. Today, millions of tourists visit this site to see the glory of the Inca people.
  • In 2007, Machu Picchu was dubbed as one of the Modern wonders of world due to its impressive building and ability to stand intact for hundreds of years.

Sources

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2021 Amara

Comments

Amara (author) from Pakistan on October 12, 2021:

Thank you so much Vidya g, I am really happy to know that you loved my work.

Thanks for reading and commenting. I really appreciate it.

Much love. Blessings.

VIDYA D SAGAR on October 12, 2021:

A very interesting article Amara. The pictures are so beautiful. It is amazing how they built the city without the use of modern machinery and technology, so accurately and precisely. it is also intriguing as to why it was abandoned. Great work.

Amara (author) from Pakistan on October 12, 2021:

Ahh well that's sad, its a place really worth visiting. I wish you all the best Mary.

Thanks for your visit and comment. Blessings.

Mary Norton from Ontario, Canada on October 12, 2021:

We canceled a trip to Machu Picchu last year. I hope to see this place soon. Thank you for the information.

Amara (author) from Pakistan on October 05, 2021:

Yes Bill, that's why it is considered as a modern worder of world.

Thanks for your visit and comment. Gratitude.

Bill De Giulio from Massachusetts on October 05, 2021:

Fascinating place that I have always wanted to visit. Perhaps someday. It is amazing that they were able to built this without the use of modern tools.

Amara (author) from Pakistan on October 05, 2021:

Thank you very much MG, I also wanna visit this wonderful place, atleast once in my life.

Thanks for your visit and comment. Blessings always!

MG Singh emge from Singapore on October 04, 2021:

Wonderful article. This is one place I have never visited mainly as it has very poor connection by air with South Asia. Your article has re-kindled my interest. Thank you for sharing.

Amara (author) from Pakistan on October 04, 2021:

Aww thanku so very much Chitra di for such a lovely comment. You made my day. Thanks again.

Chitrangada Sharan from New Delhi, India on October 04, 2021:

Nice and informative article about Machu Picchu. I have read about it, but your article is very well written and researched, to give the readers, more clarity about this lost city.

Thank you for sharing the details. An interesting read indeed.

Amara (author) from Pakistan on October 04, 2021:

Thank you very much Miebakagh. Its always nice to hear from you. Gratitude.

Amara (author) from Pakistan on October 04, 2021:

Thank you Umesh sir, I highly appreciate your visit. Gratitude.

Amara (author) from Pakistan on October 04, 2021:

Thank you so much Peggy for stopping by and leaving comment. I am much glad to know that you learned something new from this Hub.

Its always a pleasure to see your comment. Thanks.

Amara (author) from Pakistan on October 04, 2021:

Thank you very much Misbah my sweet and lovely sister for such a kind comment. Much love.

Miebakagh Fiberesima from Port Harcourt, Rivers State, NIGERIA. on October 03, 2021:

Amara, very interesting read ineed. Thanks.

Umesh Chandra Bhatt from Kharghar, Navi Mumbai, India on October 03, 2021:

Very well researched article. Great reading.

Peggy Woods from Houston, Texas on October 03, 2021:

I will probably never get to see Machu Picchu in person, but it is an exceptional site. A relative of mine has traveled there. Thanks for writing about it. I learned some new things by reading this. The fact of it still standing after all these centuries through earthquakes, etc., is amazing!

Misbah Sheikh from The World of Rebels. on October 03, 2021:

This is very interesting and informative article, Amara. I enjoyed learning about it. I also enjoyed reading the facts about Machu Picchu.

The video is also good. Thanks for sharing.

Blessings and Love to you, sweet sister

Amara (author) from Pakistan on October 03, 2021:

Thank you so very much Nian, I am really happy to know that you loved the Hub.

Thanks for such a lovely and warm comment dear sis. Allah bless you always. Much love :-)

Nian from Pakistan on October 03, 2021:

Very informative and Interesting article. Thankyou for sharing this amazing hub.

Many Blessings and Love to you, dear sister.

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