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7 Facts About Machu Picchu
One of the most iconic sites in the whole world, Machu Picchu in Peru lay “undiscovered” until just over 100 years ago. The Incan citadel remained hidden by jungle vegetation during centuries, until the American Hiram Bingham accidentally stumbled upon it. Since then, people from all over the word have been fascinated by the mystique of this wondrous site. For those traveling to Peru, experiencing the view at Machu Picchu is an absolute must. To help you prepare for your visit, we’ve compiled this small list of facts.
1. Location, location, location
Evidence indicates that Machu Picchu was built at its location because of its specific position in relation to surrounding landscape features. Some of the nearby mountains held strong religious significance for the Incas. Also, their positions fall in alignment with key astronomical events. Also, the steep mountains acted as natural defenses against potential invaders.
2. A Masterpiece of Architecture
Even now it’s still not clear what the purpose of Machu Picchu really was. What we do know is that architecture of the site was adapted to the natural features of the mountains. The terraces reduce erosion and prevent land slides. They were also used for agricultural purposes along with sophisticated irrigation channels.
3. A Feast of Engineering
One the most clever engineering features of Machu Picchu is the use of stones precisely cut to fit together without the using mortar. One of the benefits of this technique is that when earthquakes hit, the stones move as the earth shakes and then resettle, preventing buildings from collapsing.
4. No Wheels & No Donkeys
Although some of the stones used in the construction of Machu Picchu are quite heavy, no wheels were used to transport them up the mountain. A startling fact, considering that the Incas certainly knew about the wheel because they used them for building toys. Also, they didn’t have any strong pack animals, so all the heavy lifting was done by men.
5. The Most Famous Inca Trail
The Incas had one of the most sophisticated road systems of their times. It spanned most of the length of the empire; from Quito in Ecuador, and going all the way south past what is now Santiago in Chile. Today, the most famous stretch of that massive road system is the one that leads to Machu Picchu from near Cusco.
6. One of the Seven Wonders of the World
In 1983, the UNESCO declared Machu Picchu as a World Heritage Site. In 2007, people from all over the world voted for it to be included as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World. Today, the ruins are the main touristic attraction in Peru and one of the top sites to visit in South America.
7. It’s Not Over Till It’s Over
What visitors see today when they visit Machu Picchu is only a partial view. Scientist estimate that there are still parts uncovered, hidden by the lush growing vegetation and waiting to be found just like a century ago. Just recently a new set of terraces became available to the public for the first time ever.
Have you been to Machu Picchu? How was your experience? We’d love it if you share it with us!
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