Machu Picchu (also spelled Machu Pikchu) is an Inca site that dates back to the 15th-century and is located in Cusco Region in the Urumba Province of Machupicchu District, Peru. The Machu Picchu elevation is at 2,430 meters above sea level on a mountain ridge on top of the Sacred Valley where the Urubamba River flows and is located 80 kilometers northwest of Cusco. It was believed by many archeologists that the site was built to serve as an estate for Pachacuti, an Inca emperor. The Machu Picchu location is usually referred mistakenly as Lost City of the Incas as it happens to be the most prominently known Inca civilization icon.
Machu Picchu Facts and Timeline
There are many Machu Picchu Facts that are already known to some people, like the fact that it was an ancient site for the Incas. Other facts include the time it was built, which was estimated to be around 1450. The timeline also includes the time it was probably abandoned, which could have been a century later when the Spaniards started to invade Peru.
It is also another fact that despite the site’s popularity locally, it remained unknown to people from other parts of the world until it was introduced to global audience in the year 1911. It was American historian by the name of Hiram Bingham who had given the world the chance to know Machu Picchu and its significance to the Incas and the world.
As soon as the world became aware of the existence of such grandeur structure from the ancient times, reconstruction had begun for the intention of giving tourists a better view and idea of how the whole setting looked like when the Incas were still living there. It was in 1976 when it was announced that about 13% of the Machu Picchu site was restored. Up to this day, restorations are still going on, proving that the interest of modern humanity for the site is never ending. The restorations are also needed to keep the site highly protected from damages that can be caused by natural disasters and human invasion. Aside from weather disturbances and earthquakes, the site is also very much at risk from the pressures heavy human traffic. That is why it is really a necessity to keep the site maintained in order to preserve an air of mystery and grandeur.
In 1981, Machu Micchu history was added with a recognition as Peruvian Historical Sanctuary. Furthermore, it was also declared in 1983 as UNESCO World Heritage Site. Another milestone for this magnificent Inca structure is that it has been named as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World through a global internet poll.
One of the most fascinating Machu Picchu facts is that this ancient Inca site was never discovered by the Spanish colonizers and it has remained hidden until rediscovered in the first part of the 20th century. This only means that the entire city was totally forgotten, a fact that add to the allure and mystery of the site.
Classic Inca Structure
Machu Picchu is truly an Inca pride as it was built in a classical style that was uniquely Inca, as the walls are polished dry-stone. There are three main structures within the site; Inti Watana, Temple of the Sun and Room of the Three Windows. Archeologists call structures collectively as the Machu Picchu Sacred District.
Machu Picchu Nature Sanctuary
The Machu Picchu location is ideally and beautifully situated in a setting at the center of tropical mountain forest. Many people consider this sanctuary as one of the most remarkable creations during the height of the Inca Empire. The site is simply amazing, with its gigantic walls, ramps and terraces that seem to be naturally built in a continuous rock formation. The setting is just so natural and it presents its true beauty from the Andes and the Amazon basin where the rich variety of flora and fauna are displayed.
For several tourists who spend their holidays in Peru and South America, a visit to Machu Picchu Inca city is usually the highlight of their vacation. Set in a magnificent location, the site is the most widely known archaeological spot on the entire continent. This spectacular ancient city is basically full of tourists from May to September, with about 2500 visitors arriving on a daily basis.
Highlights of the Machu Picchu Region
The name Machu Picchu may be well-known today but the area on its surrounding are still filled with enthralling Inca ruins, aboriginal villages, and a the magnificent city known as Cuzco. If you are going to pay a visit to this ancient site, you should make sure that you can spend at least a few days exploring the ancient Inca capital city, with its captivating combination of pre-Columbian huge walls, colonial churches and modern-day backpacker culture. The city is also proud to be home to the famous Sacred Valley, which is currently a famous tourist spot in its own right. The main attractions here include the markets, the haughty Inca fortresses of Pisac and Ollantaytambo.
The region is also a great destination for people who are very much into high-adrenaline activities like trekking. Other places to see in the close vicinity of Machu Picchu are lesser-known (yet equally amazing) villages, ruins and other natural attractions.
Highlights in the Sacred Plaza include a climb up the stairs on top of ceremonial baths, where a flat spot of jumbled rocks that were once used as quarry, can be enjoyed. Turning right and walking across the former quarry leads to the famous four-sided plaza. The far side of the area offers a small viewing podium with curved wall and provides a magnificent view of the beautiful and snowy Cordillera Vilcabamba. Another important place to see in the region is the Temple of the Three Windows, which features gigantic trapezoidal windows.
The Machu Picchu site is definitely an attraction to visit if you are going to take a holiday in Peru. It is a place that is not just full of beauty, but it is also a very amazing structure that has been built with the genius and hard work of the mysterious ancient Incas.
Author: Tajirul Haque
Tajirul Haque is a travel enthusiast and freelance travel writer on Upwork. Having written hundreds of travel articles on so many travel destinations around the world for his clients, Tajirul started Top Travel Lists back in September 2014. Travel writing is his passion and he always loves to write about a new destination as it allows him to know about more beautiful places the planet has to offer. He is always available for freelance travel writing opportunities.