Machu Picchu, also called “Lost City of the Incas ”, is an archaeological site located in Peru . This immense sanctuary is considered one of the most enigmatic places in Latin America.
In 1983, it was declared by UNESCO as a Cultural Heritage of Humanity. In 2007, it was elected one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.
Today, the ruins of this great symbol of the Inca Empire enchant visitors from all over the world. It is the most visited place in Peru and one of the most visited in Latin America.
From its construction, we can glimpse the techniques, engineering and architectural and technological knowledge of the Inca Empire.
Where is Machu Picchu?
Location of Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is located in the Andes Mountains, on top of a mountain at 2430 meters above sea level. It is located in the valley of the Urubamba River, near Cusco, Peru, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire.
Machu Picchu was built in the mid-15th century at the request of the ninth Inca Emperor Pachacutéc. Its construction, in large part, was made with stones.
As the Inca people had a great religiosity, it is believed that it was built in such a high place to be close to the gods.
With the expansion of the Inca empire, there was a need to build another place, which gradually became one of the most important urban centers of this civilization.
The city consisted of houses, squares, shrines, temples, cemeteries and aqueducts. In addition, it had sites (stepped terraces) for the development of agriculture. It is worth remembering that they also raised animals, with the llama being the most popular in the area.
Stepped terraces at Machu Picchu
However, there are controversies regarding its use, since some historians believe that the place served for the accomplishment of several cults.
With the arrival of the Spaniards in the American continent, the city remained intact because the place was difficult to access. Therefore, records indicate that Machu Picchu was not found by the colonists.
But it is worth mentioning that the Inca civilization that inhabited other places was decimated by the conquerors.
It was not until 1911 that the site was rediscovered by the American explorer Hiram Bingham (1875-1956).
Learn more about the Incas.
People Walking the Inca Trail
The "Inca trail or path" designates a great path built by the Inca people with the aim of defense and also for the commercialization of products.
It covers several countries in South America:Argentina, Chile, Peru, Bolivia, Colombia and Ecuador. The whole way led to Cusco, the capital of the Empire.
Formed by roads and several tunnels that were built in the rocks, the trail connected the entire empire for about 30 thousand kilometers. Due to its historical importance, the path has been included by UNESCO in the list of world heritage sites.
Nowadays, many travelers prefer to know the place through the trail that can take about 2 to 5 days. The journey varies from 20 to 45 km. The classic Inca trail is the most famous and takes 4 days.
Fun facts about Machu Picchu
Sun clock at Machu Picchu
- In the Quechua language, “Machu Picchu” means “old mountain”.
- Studies show that civilization chose stone as the main building element because it was considered sacred to them.
- One of the most emblematic elements of the holy city is the sundial (Intihuatana). Made of stone, it is located at the highest point in the city.
- In addition to the sacred character of the region, the Incas chose the site for its altitude, as it was more suitable for astronomical studies.
- In total, the lost city of the Incas is 530 meters long and 200 meters wide.
- Today, visitors can see nearly 30% of its original structure.
Learn more about the Historic Heritage and the Seven Wonders of the Modern World.