"Your Guide to the Inca Empire"
About Peru History

Facts About Machu Picchu

Strategically placed almost eight thousand feet above sea level, Machu Picchu is a set of ruins fondly called the Old Peak by local Peruvians. The Urubamba River flows by and below it while it is on the Urubamba Valley mountain ridge. Machu Picchu was constructed by Emperor Pachacuti of the Incan Empire and he made it a major estate of the empire. Today it is an icon of the Incan civilization that was conquered by the Spaniards and is commonly referred to The Lost City of the Incas.


Machu Picchu was constructed and engineered approximately in AD 1400 as a royal estate. However, it was later abandoned once the Spaniards entered and conquered the Incan empire. Since it is so high up in the mountains, agriculture was mainly achieved with partial success through terraces, but more Incans opted to leave Machu Picchu for more fertile and level grounds. Today, because of all the mystery and history that has surrounded the area for decades, Machu Picchu is a major tourist destination for people coming from all corners of the world.

Within Machu Picchu are sacred temples and buildings where the Incans worshipped and all were located in the Sacred District of Machu Picchu. Temples such as the Room of the Three Windows, the Intihuatana, and the Temple of the sun are just a few among many structures built in the ancient city. All structures are mainly built of dry stone in a uniquely Incan design.

In the early 1900’s Machu Picchu was declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is also renowned to be one of the Seven Wonders of the World. Because of its strategic position, it is one of the few Incan cities that was not destroyed or plundered by the Spanish conquerors that were travelling the Americas to impose their colonization.

Early in the 1900’s, much of the artefacts that were in the city were salvaged from Machu Picchu by explorer and researcher Hiram Bingham and were placed in Yale University of the United States. In 2007, the Peruvian government and Yale University made a pact to have the artefacts returned to Machu Picchu since it is a heritage site deserving of its properties and inheritance from an ancient civilization.

To best preserve the area, there is a no fly zone over it and plans to build bridge to accommodate tourism have been halted. Much admired and much visited, Machu Picchu is close to making it on the list for World Heritage Sites in Danger due to the threat of it not being able to handle the tourism carrying capacity.


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