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What are some lesser known facts about Machu Picchu in Peru?

Machu Picchu in Peru is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage site. Located in the Andes Mountains in Peru, this ancient Inca city attracts millions of visitors each year. While most people are familiar with the basic history of Machu Picchu, there are some facts that are worth exploring. In this article we discuss some of the lesser-known facts about Machu Picchu.

1. The exact purpose of Machu Picchu is still a mystery 

Despite extensive research, experts still do not know the exact purpose of Machu Picchu. Some experts believe it was a sacred site for religious ceremonies. Other people believe it was a royal estate or a place of astronomical observation.

There are also some who speculate that Machu Picchu was a place where the Incas trained their ruling class. While there is no concrete evidence to support any of these theories, the fact that Machu Picchu was built in such a remote location suggests that it was a site of great importance to the Incas.

One thing that is clear, however, is that Machu Picchu is a remarkable feat of engineering and construction. The city is located on a steep mountain ridge and features a complex network of terraces, buildings, and irrigation systems. The Incas used sophisticated techniques to build the structures at Machu Picchu in Peru. Among these were the use of the ashlar technique and precise stone cutting.

Inca ruins

2. Machu Picchu was rediscovered by accident 

In 1911, Hiram Bingham, an American historian and explorer, stumbled upon Machu Picchu by accident while searching for Vilcabamba, the lost city of the Incas. Bingham and his team were astonished to discover the ancient ruins, which had been abandoned for centuries.

Hiram Bingham’s discovery of Machu Picchu was a turning point in the history of the site. Prior to his visit, Machu Picchu was known only to a handful of local farmers and shepherds. Bingham’s publications about his findings brought international attention to the site. Also, they helped to establish it as a major tourist destination.

However, Bingham’s role in the discovery of Machu Picchu has been the subject of some controversy. While he is often credited with the discovery of the site, there is evidence to suggest that others had visited Machu Picchu before him, including a German businessman named Augusto R. Berns who is believed to have visited the site in the 1860s.

Inca ruins

3. Machu Picchu was not the only Inca city in the region 

While Machu Picchu is the most famous Inca city, it was not the only one in the region. In fact, there were many other Inca cities, including Vilcabamba and Choquequirao, that were just as important as Machu Picchu.

Vilcabamba, also known as the “lost city of the Incas,” was the last refuge of the Inca empire before it fell to the Spanish conquest. It is located in a remote jungle region and was only rediscovered in the 20th century. 

On the other hand, Choquequirao is located in a remote region of the Andes. It is often referred to as the “sister city” of Machu Picchu due to its similar architecture and location on a mountaintop. However, Choquequirao is much less well-known than Machu Picchu and sees only a fraction of the visitors. Despite its remote location, Choquequirao is considered by many to be one of the most impressive Inca sites in the region.

Inca ruins

4. Machu Picchu was built without the use of wheels

The Incas did not have access to the wheel, so they had to build Machu Picchu without using them. To transport the stones, the Incas used a system of ramps, ropes, and rollers. The ramps were built at a slight incline, allowing workers to drag the stones up to the construction site. Ropes and rollers were also used to move the stones along the ground, and wooden poles were used to help support the weight of the stones as they were transported.

5. The structures at Machu Picchu are earthquake-proof

The Incas were known for their advanced engineering skills, and the structures at Machu Picchu were designed to withstand earthquakes. The buildings were constructed using a technique called “ashlar,” which involved fitting stones together so tightly that not even a blade of grass could fit between them.

What are some lesser known facts about Machu Picchu in Peru?

6. Machu Picchu was abandoned during the Spanish conquest

After the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire, many Inca cities and sites were destroyed or abandoned. Machu Picchu in Peru was one of the sites that was abandoned. The Inca people fled to the nearby mountains to avoid the Spanish conquistadors. The city remained hidden and forgotten for centuries, until Hiram Bingham’s accidental discovery in 1911.

The Spanish conquest had a profound impact on the Inca people, as it led to the destruction of their political and social structures. The Incas were also subjected to forced labor and the extraction of natural resources, which had devastating consequences for their local communities.

Today, efforts are underway to preserve and protect the cultural and natural heritage of the region. These measures are implemented to limit the impact of tourism and preserve the fragile ecosystems of the Andes.

Machu Picchu ruins

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