Machu Picchu: The Lost City of the Incas
Machu Picchu: The Lost City of the Incas – Going to Peru without visiting Machu Picchu is kind of like going to Paris but ignoring the Eiffel Tower, it totally can’t be done. Most people don’t ignore this significant Pre-Columbian site as it’s the most visited tourist attraction in this South American country.
What makes Machu Picchu so cursed special? For one thing, it is known as the most preserved remains of the ever-mighty Inca Empire. Sitting at the 7,970-foot (2,430-meter) level of Old Peak (Machu Picchu) Mountain, the site is amazingly, hauntingly beautiful.
The palace which was constructed around 1450 for the Emperor Pachacuti was abandoned a century later. Miraculously, this site escaped the destruction and plundering of the Spanish conquistadores who destroyed everything of Inca that they could get their hands on.
The site became overgrown with vegetation over the centuries. the site became overgrown with vegetation. Even few outside the local area were aware of its existence. Until 1911, the lost city of the Incas remained untouched. When an American explorer and historian, Hiram Bingham, visited and routed home from a conference in Chile, this region looking for Inca ruins.
Bingham found the Mother Lode of not only Inca ruins, but of worldwide archeological ruins with Machu Picchu. This palatial estate is one of the most significant archaeological ruins on earth.
The fortress in the clouds is one of the finest examples of Incan architecture, constructed at a time when the Incas were still at their height. Structures are made of stone, that is not unusual for this time frame anywhere on earth. These stones and rocks which makes Machu Picchu an engineering marvel, were fitted together without any use of mortar. These rocks fit together so tight, even a knife blade can not be inserted between them. The stone construction blends in completely with the surrounding mountains.
Machu Picchu is laid out in some sections. There is an urban section and agricultural section, an upper old city where the temples are situated, and a lower new city where warehouses can be discovered. Altogether, approximately 200 buildings can be discovered at Machu Picchu.
One of the most wondrous remains is the Temple of the Sun which majestically overlooks the Urubamba River, that surrounds this site on three sides, and the Sacred Valley beneath. It is another engineering marvel, one which owns astrological overtones. The sun shines through a temple window at the summer solstice, in perfect alignment with the boulder and the temple is built around and a mountain peak. A ceremonial stone, which is known as The Intihuatana stone is another incredible element here. It was located within an exact location which perfectly aligns with the two annual equinoxes.
However, Machu Picchu is more than a palatial estate for the rulers of Inca. It may have been a military stronghold because of its strategic location. It also may own religious connotations due to the temples where human sacrifices to appease the gods were created. Their remains have been found at the site because not all the sacrificed people were given proper burials.
Another amazing view is the 700 stone terraces constructed on the slopes. These terraces served multiple objectives: plots to grow farm crops; preserve water and to overcome erosion.
Hoping to unearth more of its mysteries, the historians today continue to study Machu Picchu. The biggest question remains is the reason why the Incas built Machu Picchu. It may remain one of the biggest unsolved mysteries since the Incas had no written language.
There are some ways to get to Machu Picchu. Most people may take the train from Cusco which is 50 miles away, taking a bus for the final miles. If you are hardier traveler in a tip-top physical condition, you might consider a multi-day trek on the Inca Trail. It is the traditional route which generations of Incas and later Bingham, took to reach this site.