Machu Picchu, the mysterious lost city of the Incas, has long been shrouded in mystery and intrigue. Built almost 500 years ago, it stands atop a rocky ridge deep in the Peruvian Andes, surrounded by an aura of awe-inspiring beauty. Now a World Heritage site, visitors come from far and wide to explore the ruins of this infamous city, searching for clues as to why it was built and why it was abandoned. Today, Machu Picchu remains one of the great wonders of the world, full of mystery and captivating beauty.
1. Exploring the Mysteries of Machu Picchu
The fabled city of Machu Picchu is shrouded in mystery and wonder – a legacy that has stood the test of time since its peak of magnificence in 1450. The captivating beauty of its steep terraces, its countless buildings and numerous temples make this ancient citadel one of the greatest archaeological sites of the century. Whether for its cultural significance or its bequest of hidden secrets, Machu Picchu is an incredible journey through time, history and exploration.
- Huayna Picchu – a hill top fortress with impressive fortifications
- The Sun Gate – an iconic entry into the city from a steep mountain path
- Inti Punku or The Gate of the Sun – a passageway to the spiritual world
As you traverse the meandering paths of Machu Picchu, you can’t help but be in awe of the complex network of buildings and temples that enigmatically stand before you. The intricate stonework adorning walls and doorways, the precise cutting and assembling of stones, and the awe-inspiring Incan architecture all add to the power of this ancient city.
- The Temple of the Sun – massive terraces clinging to the cliff face
- The Temple of the Three Windows – believed to be a place of sacrificial rite
- The ‘Inca’s Throne’ – a temple altar faced to the rising sun
Machu Picchu is an enigma that will never be fully revealed. Its captivating wonders, such as the Intihuatana stone, the perfected drainage system, the awe-inspiring mountain views and the ever-changing terraced gardens, boast of a culture that excelled in engineering and design.
2. Unraveling the Incas’ Hidden City
Cradled within the Andes Mountains, lays the remains of an ancient city, one of the great wonders of the world – Machu Picchu. As the Incan Empire’s epicenter, Machu Picchu has stirred wonder and admiration ever since its discovery in 1911.
This complex of palaces, temples, terraces, and dwellings has held a captivating allure for generations. To explore the mystery and reveal the secrets of this Incan abode has been the muse of many adventurers. Many of the Incan’s secrets remain well-hidden, but more and more is being uncovered by curious travelers and archeologists.
The clues to unlocking the Inca’s hidden city begin with the intricate structure of the buildings themselves. Huge stone blocks fitted together precisely, some weighing as much as 60 tons, adorn the ancient terraces and passages. Built for function as well as aesthetics, the structures are impressive in their practicality.
Archeological research has found evidence to support several of Inca tales. For instance, their account of a goddess whose tears turned in to rainbows, gave rise to the discovery of color-coded stones connected to her myth. The rainbow fountain, a ceremonial pit, bedazzles archeologists with its symbolic significance. Other evidence supports accounts of human sacrifices and mythical gods.
The absolute marvel of the Incas has made it difficult to unravel their hidden city. Yet, as many of the secrets have been revealed, more questions come to light, inviting curious seekers from all over the world to explore the uncovered gems.
3. Reconstructing Sacred Machu Picchu
Early accounts of the Inca lives, dating back to the 16th century, make the case for why Machu Picchu, an ancient Peruvian city high up in the mountains, is such a sacred place. Machu Picchu was a relatively large city of about 750 people in the peak of its reign, but it was completely abandoned and left in ruins in the mid-16th century. How did such a remarkable city fall into disrepair?
Modern archaeologists, historians, anthropologists, and local people have worked to uncover the history of Machu Picchu over the past century. Through their research they have learned that Machu Picchu was abandoned during a period of civil unrest and military strife. As the Inca empire weakened and other tribes rose to power in the region, the Inca inhabitants of Machu Picchu had no choice but to move on. While much of the city was destroyed during the transition, the majority of the remains were preserved in their original form thanks to the rugged mountain terrain.
Today, Machu Picchu has been restored to its former glory by teams of highly skilled professionals and researchers from all over the world. Much of the effort has involved reconstructing the city’s ancient structures and gathering details about the lives of the people who once inhabited the city. Visitors can now enjoy the majesty of this once-lost city by touring its wide variety of archaeological sites and soaking in the spiritual energy that radiates from the Inca ruins.
In addition to the historic structures, Machu Picchu also offers a unique opportunity to learn about the customs and beliefs of the Inca people. Guests can explore the city and take part in traditional Inca rituals, explore ancient sacred sites, and take part in religious festivals. By visiting Machu Picchu, one can gain a deeper understanding of the histories and cultures of the Inca people and the history of the region as a whole.
4. Uncovering the Ancient Charms of Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is an awe-inspiring travel destination that has fascinated generations. Granted World Heritage status by UNESCO, this mysterious Incan stronghold brims with tales of its illustrious past, as well as breathtaking landscaped terraces and temples.
- Unforgettable Highlights
The Huayna Picchu mountain stands watch behind the site and provides a spectacular backdrop to the ruins below. Explore the Incan city that has stood for centuries and discover stories of cryptic doorways, intricate stonework, and ancient irrigation systems. Keep an eye out for the post-Incan additions such as the Museum of Machu Picchu that store archaeological treasures dating back centuries.
- An Immersion in Myth and Legend
The grandiose Plaza Principal, the Sacred Plaza, and the Intihuatana stone all invite exploration with their stories of Incan mythology. Venture up the Temple of the Sun for an aerial panoramic view of the ruins. Listen for the whispers of ancient civilization and take in the sites of the Urubamba Valley rolling out below. Exquisite carvings grace rock and temple faces all over the grounds, inspiring awe and reflection on the grandeur of past Empires.
- Enduring Mystery
Machu Picchu still holds secrets that continue to enthrall and tantalize the imagination. Did Pachacuti, the ninth Incan emperor, wield the powers of divination or did the inhabitants have some other raison d’etre for their city in the clouds? Did their prosperity and vibrant culture fall prey to the Spaniards when they arrived or did the city “disappear” on its own? Uncovering the innumerable charms of Machu Picchu and its enduring mystery is an experience that lingers in memory forever.
5. Unlocking the Mysteries of Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu remains one of the most mysterious sites in the world. Its true purpose is unknown, as are the exact date and circumstances of its creation. But despite the myriad enigmas still surrounding Machu Picchu, there are a few secrets that have been unlocked by the latest archaeological research:
- Machu Picchu was built between 1450 and 1460 CE during the reign of the Incan emperor Pachacuti.
- The complex was divided into four distinct sections – the farming zone, the urban sector, the royal residence and the religious temple.
- An intricate system of drainage channels and canals was built to channel nature’s forces and diversify its agricultural production.
The Intention Behind Machu Picchu
Archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built with the intention of being a religious site. They have found evidence of worship, offering sites as well as various altars and monuments in the area. Unlike many other Inca complexes, there is no evidence of defence or war-related structures in Machu Picchu which suggests, at least in part, that it served a spiritual purpose.
The Skilled Builders
Machu Picchu is something of an architectural marvel. The Incas built remarkable terraces and walls without the use of mortar. Their stonemasons were so skilled that they could cut precisely fitted stones that, when placed on top of each other, created interlocking walls that were strong enough to support the weight of the structures.
The mysteries of Machu Picchu continue to live on despite the secrets of its builders and its inhabitants. The lost city of the Incas remains a symbol of the power of the imperial culture that built it, and its stunning beauty is a testament to the ingenuity and tenacity of a civilization that left its mark forever.