Machu Picchu (Spanish pronunciation: [ˈmatʃu ˈpitʃu]) (Quechua: Machu Pikchu; [ˈmɑtʃu ˈpixtʃu]) is a 15th-century Inca citadel situated on a mountain ridge 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level.It is located in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province, Machupicchu District in Peru,above the Sacred Valley, which is 80 kilometres (50 mi) northwest of Cuzco and through which the Urubamba River flows.
Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often mistakenly referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas” (a title more accurately applied to Vilcabamba), it is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. The Incas built the estate around 1450 but abandoned it a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Although known locally, it was not known to the Spanish during the colonial period and remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram Bingham brought it to international attention in 1911.
Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. Its three primary structures are the Inti Watana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed in order to give tourists a better idea of how they originally appeared. By 1976, thirty percent of Machu Picchu had been restored and restoration continues.
The history of Machu Picchu is complex and fascinating, and before you arrive at the Lost City of the Incas, you might be interested in learning about it. This site is not only an impressive remnant of the Inca civilization; it is also one of the world’s most important archeological sites. It should come as no surprise how many travelers plan hiking tours to reach the lost city, but how many of them know what they’re looking at? A little background can go a long way to enhancing your visit to Machu Picchu.
One incredible fact about Machu Picchu is that although it was built in the 1400s, it was hardly known of outside the region until 1911. An American professor named Hiram Bingham found the site despite the fact that the Incans did a thorough job at keeping secret the lost city, which is located nearly 8,000 feet above sea level. Once this discovery occurred, a wealth of information about the history of Machu Picchu was uncovered. There were 135 skeletons that were found at the site, and more than 100 were women. Archaeologists have speculated that Machu Picchu was a temple or sanctuary for high priests and women who have been referred to as Virgins of the Sun, though more recent research has convinced many that it was built as an estate for the Incan emperor Pachacuti, who ruled from 1438 until 1471 or 1472.
There are many intriguing aspects of the history of Machu Picchu, with one of the most fascinating being the relatively small period of its use. This intricate and beautiful complex was built at the height of the Inca Empire, but it was in use for less than 100 years-around the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru, in the early sixteenth century, Machu Picchu was abandoned. After its rediscovery, it was named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983, and the visitors have not stopped arriving since, as the iconic peaks of Machu Picchu are among the most dazzling archaeological sites worldwide.