"Your Guide to the Inca Empire"
About Peru History

A Short History of the Machu Picchu

by Mara

The Incan citadel named Machu Picchu is regarded by scholars as an estate of Incan emperor Pachacuti. Others works theorized that the community was established in the site because of the belief that the Virgins of the Suns were born there.

Another theory regarding its establishment was its location and the presence of several landforms which the Inca considered sacred because it helped mark several astronomical events important to the inhabitants of the place.

At the height of Inca civilization at around 1450, Machu Picchu was established on a mountain top at an elevation more than 9000 feet above sea level.

In the Quechua language, Machu Picchu means Old Peak and at its heyday, Machu Picchu was a self contained city whose borders were defined in an area less than five square miles. One enigmatic finding about Machu Picchu was that only 100 years after its establishment, the site was abandoned by its inhabitants who were most probably escaping a scourge of smallpox that killed a majority of the city’s dwellers.

Although the Spanish conquistadores were recorded to have visited the general area, due to its isolation, no proof stands that the Spanish were able to reach the city.

Machu Picchu was never a remote place because at the height of Inca civilization, it was only about 80 kilometers from the Inca capital city of Cusco. When the conquistadores visited Peru, they became plunderers of a peaceful nation and consequently destroyed or defaced many Inca sites.

Thankfully due to its extreme location 9000 feet above the Peruvian Andes, the Spanish were never able to visit Machu Picchu although there is proof that the Spanish may have heard of the city because a place named Piccho was recorded by the foreigners.

Consequently, most of the structures in Machu Picchu were left untouched and it took approximately 500 years before another foreigner was able to set eyes on the enigma and magnificence of the forgotten city.

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About Peru History, "Your Guide to the Inca Empire"

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