10 Facts About Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, a well-preserved Incan citadel in Peru, holds a wealth of historical and cultural mysteries, surrounded by the stunning cloud forest. This fascinating site features earthquake-resistant architecture, astronomical observatories, and diverse hiking routes.

Witness how the site harmoniously blends into the cloud forest environment, becoming a home for various species, including llamas and alpacas. Yet, amidst the architectural brilliance and natural wonders, lies an enigma that continues to baffle historians – the inexplicable abandonment of this flourishing city.

1. Remarkable Preservation of Machu Picchu, a Result of Incan Building Techniques

One of the striking features of Machu Picchu is how well it has been preserved. Thanks to the Incas’ advanced building techniques, around 140 structures including temples, sanctuaries, parks, and residences remain intact. The Incas used a method called “ashlar”, where stones are cut to fit together without mortar. Not only aesthetically appealing, but this method also contributes to the longevity and earthquake resilience of the structures.

2. “Patallaqta”, The Possible Original Name of Machu Picchu

While it is widely known as Machu Picchu, the ancient citadel may have been originally called “Patallaqta” according to some historians. This term translates to “town on the hill” in Quechua, the language of the Incas. While this theory has not been definitively proven, it opens up an interesting conversation about the site’s history and origin.

3. Home to 423 Bird Species

The mesmerizing cloud forest surrounding Machu Picchu creates an enchanting atmosphere and is a vital habitat for various plant and animal species. This biodiversity hotspot houses 423 bird species, 300 types of orchids, and numerous endangered animals like the spectacled bear and the Andean condor.

4. The Machu Picchu’s No-Fly Zone Status

The no-fly zone policy was instituted at Machu Picchu to prevent noise pollution from aircraft, which could disrupt the tranquility of the site and potentially harm its sensitive wildlife. By maintaining a quiet environment, the authorities help to preserve both the physical site and the visitor experience.

5. Intihuatana Stone: Machu Picchu’s Astronomical Observatory

Machu Picchu’s Intihuatana stone, also known as the “Hitching Post of the Sun,” is evidence of the Incas’ advanced knowledge of astronomy. This carved rock pillar was used by the Incas to predict solstices and equinoxes. On the equinoxes, the sun sits directly over the pillar, creating no shadow.

6. The Classic Inca Trail: A Four-Day Hiking Experience to Machu Picchu

The Classic Inca Trail is a popular hiking route that leads to Machu Picchu. This 26-mile trail, which takes approximately four days to complete, offers trekkers breathtaking views of mountain scenery, cloud forest, and subtropical jungle. It also passes several smaller Inca sites on the way, giving hikers an immersive Inca experience.

7. The Iconic Residents of Machu Picchu: Llamas and Alpacas

The site is often populated with llamas and alpacas, contributing to the unique ambiance. They are descendants of the animals kept by the Incas for their wool and as pack animals. Today, they graze freely around the site, helping maintain the vegetation and providing iconic photo opportunities for visitors.

8. Earthquake-Resistant Structures of Machu Picchu

The Incas were master builders who developed advanced construction techniques that made their buildings resistant to damage from earthquakes, a common occurrence in the region. They employed trapezoidal doors and windows, as well as inward-leaning walls, which have helped the structures withstand seismic activity for centuries.

9. The Testament to the Architectural Prowess of the Inca Empire

The Inca Empire was the largest empire in pre-Columbian America. The well-planned city of Machu Picchu, with its complex agricultural terraces, finely crafted stonework, and intricate drainage systems, reflects the architectural and organizational prowess of this ancient civilization.

10. The Abandonment of Machu Picchu Remains A Mystery

Despite the city’s grandeur, it was mysteriously abandoned and forgotten until its rediscovery in 1911. Various theories have been proposed for its abandonment, from an outbreak of a deadly disease to a catastrophic war. Yet, the truth remains unknown, further deepening the enigma of Machu Picchu.

Final Thoughts

The Machu Picchu offers a remarkable snapshot into the daily lives, advanced astronomy, and skilled craftsmanship of the Inca civilization. The intriguing mystery of its abandonment continues to captivate historians and visitors alike, further deepening our fascination with this world-renowned archaeological site. As we continue to discover and understand Machu Picchu’s secrets, we gain profound insights into a civilization that, though no longer existing, continues to mesmerize us through its enduring legacy.