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Machu Picchu – the ancient Inca city

Machu Picchu is a city that witnessed the rise and fall of the ancient Inca civilization. It is now one of the most popular attractions in Peru and all of South America.

History of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu (Peru)The city, high in the mountains of Peru and surrounded by the Urubamba River, was founded in the mid-15th century. The convenient location of Machu Picchu helped the indigenous tribes to avoid the invasions of the Spanish conquerors for a long time. At first, Machu Picchu served as the residence of the Supreme Inca Pachacutec. After his death the city became an educational center for the children of wealthy families, and at the same time a defensive point of access to the most fertile areas of the Inca Empire.

The life of the city by historical standards was short – only about 100 years. The end of its existence as a settlement was the invasion of the Spanish colonizers in 1532. According to one of the many versions of historians, famine forced the townspeople to leave their homes; other scholars argue that some residents left to fight the invaders, and some fled to the last bastion of the Incas, the ancient city of Vilcabamba, to save gold and other valuables.

History of Machu PicchuAccording to popular legend, passed down from generation to generation, the ruler of the city sacrificed its entire population to the gods to save the dying empire, and then he himself threw himself into the abyss.

The surrounding population has always jealously guarded the town, lost in the mountains, from outsiders, and for many years no one even suspected of its existence. The world did not learn about it until 1911, thanks to the American researcher H. Bingham, who was originally looking for the famous Inca gold, but discovered Machu Picchu by chance encounter with a local. The scholar was struck by the scale and beauty of the city, as well as by the thoughtfulness of the smallest details.

After Machu Picchu became known to all, many priceless historical artifacts were taken from there to the United States and only 100 years later it was possible to return them in full. The returned valuables can be seen in one of Cusco’s museums.

Five years ago, archaeologists discovered numerous underground rooms with secret passages, which they assumed could store the legendary gold.

Sights of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu in PeruThis amazing city is notable for its architecture, which is remarkable and progressive for ancient times. In its construction, precautions were used to protect the houses from collapse in the event of an earthquake. The stones for the buildings were polished so that to this day even a knife blade cannot penetrate into the gaps between them.

Agricultural terraces, equipped with entire irrigation systems and ideally close to the mountain, have survived virtually unchanged to this day. All these unique architectural constructions, which are not afraid of neither time nor natural disasters, were created with the help of the simplest stone tools, which emphasizes the highest level of skill of the city’s builders. No binding mixtures were used – both the magnificent palace buildings and the two-story apartment buildings are held solely by their own weight.

Machu Picchu - attractionsThe city is built so that its view from above resembles that of the condor, the sacred bird of the Incas. The road system of Machu Picchu is comparable in coverage to that of ancient Rome. Thanks to this unique arrangement of life, the city has been able to exist for many years completely independent of the rest of the world.

Not surprisingly, Machu Picchu is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site and is also one of the New Wonders of the World. After acquiring this status, the city, which attracts travelers from all over the world, has become a center of world tourism, and in order to preserve the unique cultural monument, it was decided to limit the number of visitors to 2.5 thousand people a day.

A favorable time to travel to the city is the dry season, which lasts from April to October. Rainy period will suit those who like a quiet walk in the absence of the crowds of tourists. The temperature here is the same almost all year round (23-27℃).

Sights of Machu PicchuAmong the sights of Machu Picchu, which should not be missed, are:

  1. The picturesque Mount Huayna Picchu, a kind of brand of the city, which is painted on all its images. The viewpoints offer mesmerizing panoramas of Machu Picchu and the Urubamba Valley. Those who want to admire the extremely beautiful dwellings and temples located on Huayna Picchu should weigh their physical capacities: climbing the mountain requires good preparation. Access is limited to 400 people a day;
  2. Palace of the Moon, in which you can find many mysterious niches and recesses. It is located at the foot of Huayna Picchu;
  3. The central part of the city, called the Acropolis, with unique buildings, including the Temple of the Sun Ichiutan and the Temple of the Three Windows, Inca ritual buildings that have survived to this day;
  4. Torreon Temple-Fortress;
  5. The Palace of the Princess, where the queen of the Incas lived;
  6. The ancient observatory, which houses the Intivatan stone, which served as a sundial by which all agricultural work was checked;
  7. Caves with burials of the most noble people of the city.

Video tour of Machu Picchu

How to get to Machu Picchu?

How to get to Machu Picchu?You can take a comfortable train from Ollantaitambo station (an hour’s drive from Cuzco) or Poroy station (near Cuzco) to Aguas Calientes, enjoying the magnificent scenery along the way, and from there you can take a bus that runs every 15 minutes.

where is Machu Picchu?Lovers of beautiful hiking trails can reach the destination along the Inca Trail, a road used by the pilgrims, or along the Salkantay cracking. The path passes through the most picturesque places: forests and mountains. Such a trip takes up to 4 days, but guarantees the same positive emotions and unforgettable experience, as walking through the mysterious ancient city with an amazing history.

Location of Machu Picchu on the map

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