A Traveller’s Guide to Machu Picchu

A Traveller’s Guide to Machu Picchu

Believed to have been built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti around 1400 AD, Machu Picchu is a pre-Columbian Inca site in Peru. It’s also one of the New Seven Wonders of the World as of 2007.

The “Lost City of the Incas” stands tall at a whopping 2,430m above sea level, perched upon a mountain ridge above Urubamba Valley. It was a long time before the outside world had heard of it, in fact it wasn’t until 1911 that it was bought to international attention by an American historian. Because of it being so little known, it remained unscathed during the Spanish Conquest as they had not known of its existence. This is why it remains a place of great importance as it’s a reasonably well preserved piece of a cultural site that has mainly been destroyed.

Some believe Machu Picchu to be a sacred religious site. Although this has not been proven the theory holds weight due to Machu Picchu’s specific among mountains that held religious importance to the Inca. Another theory, among others, is that Machu Picchu was once a prison for those who had committed monstrous crimes against the Inca. One theory even raises the possibility that Machu Picchu was for agricultural testing in order to explore what plants would grow in certain climates.

Although the Inca are regarded as a highly intelligent culture, interestingly they did not use the wheel for engineering purposes despite having knowledge of the wheel which was used in some toys. However, this could be due to the steep landscape and lack of strong animals that could be used for cart-pulling etc. They did however invent the quipu which recorded numerical information through the use of knots on strings.

Despite a lot of Machu Picchu being re-built a large amount of it remains practically untouched. It’s an awe-inspiring site with breathtaking scenery. Also, with increasing economic and commercial forces threatening the fragile condition of Machu Picchu, it surely won’t be long until tourist numbers are limited in order to preserve this historic location.

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