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The secrets and curiosities of Machu Picchu that you may not have known about

secretos y curiosidades de Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is one of the wonders of the modern world, but did you know that there are secrets and curiosities of Machu Picchu hidden among its ancient ruins? In this article, I’ll reveal some of the historical enigmas and fascinating facts that will make your visit even more intriguing.

The meaning of Machu Picchu and its historical significance

Machu Picchu, which in Quechua means “Old Mountain”, is much more than an impressive archaeological site. It’s considered a symbol of the ancient Inca Empire and a testament to their advanced architecture and scientific knowledge. Machu Picchu has been recognised as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is a renowned tourist destination worldwide.

The mysterious function of Machu Picchu

Despite extensive archaeological research, the exact purpose of Machu Picchu remains a mystery. It’s believed to have been an important ceremonial and religious centre, but some theorists suggest that it could also have had an astronomical purpose or even been an ancient lost city.

The agricultural terraces in Machu Picchu

One of the most impressive features of Machu Picchu are its agricultural terraces. These stepped structures were designed to make the most of the mountainous terrain and allow agriculture on the steep slopes. The ancient inhabitants of Machu Picchu mastered irrigation and construction techniques to create an efficient and sustainable agricultural system.

The enigmas of the construction

The construction of Machu Picchu is a mystery in itself. It’s estimated that around 20,000 workers were needed to build this architectural complex, but it’s still unknown how they transported and positioned the massive stones that make up the structures. Furthermore, the precision of the alignment techniques and Machu Picchu’s earthquake resistance continue to astonish modern archaeologists.

Carbon Neutral Certificate and its commitment to sustainability

Machu Picchu has stood out for its focus on environmental sustainability. Recently, it achieved the Carbon Neutral Certificate, meaning it has managed to balance the carbon emissions generated by tourist activities with environmental offset actions. This commitment showcases the importance of protecting and preserving the natural environment in which Machu Picchu is located.

The mystery of Machu Picchu’s abandonment

Although Machu Picchu was constructed with great care and precision, its abandonment remains a mystery. It’s uncertain why it was abandoned by the Incas, but several theories have been proposed. Some suggest that the arrival of the Spanish conquerors and the diseases they introduced could have been factors, whilst others argue that internal revolts or a lack of supplies may have contributed to its abandonment.

Landslide-proof: the engineering of Machu Picchu

One of the most astonishing features of Machu Picchu is its exceptional engineering that has kept it landslide-proof throughout the centuries. Construction techniques, such as the use of interconnected stones and the distribution of weight in the structures, have allowed this archaeological site to withstand earthquakes and adverse weather conditions.

Surprising secrets and curiosities of Machu Picchu

  1. Intihuatana, the sun clock: One of the treasures of Machu Picchu is the Intihuatana, a carved stone that serves as an ancient sun clock. During the equinoxes, the sun aligns perfectly with this stone, creating a unique shadow phenomenon.
  2. The lost city rediscovered: Machu Picchu was hidden from the outside world until it was rediscovered by explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911. The site’s remote location and untouched state amazed the world and sparked great interest in the Inca civilisation.
  3. The Inca Trail: Before arriving at Machu Picchu, you can follow the footsteps of the ancient Incas via the famous Inca Trail. This trekking path is an unforgettable experience that allows you to explore stunning landscapes and discover other archaeological sites.
  4. Unknown purpose: While several theories about Machu Picchu’s purpose have been proposed, its exact function remains a mystery. Some believe it was a religious centre, while others think it was a fortress or a sacred city.
  5. Architectural design: The architecture of Machu Picchu is astonishing. The Incas used advanced construction techniques, such as the “fine ashlar” technique, which involves fitting the stones without the use of mortar. The stones fit so perfectly that you can’t insert a sheet of paper between them.
  6. It wasn’t looted: Unlike many other Inca cities, Machu Picchu wasn’t looted or destroyed by the Spanish conquerors. This contributes to its exceptional state of preservation.

Frequently Asked Questions

Who built Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu was built by the ancient Incas, an indigenous civilisation that inhabited the Andes region of South America. It was built in the 15th century during the reign of the Inca emperor Pachacutec as an impressive citadel and ceremonial centre.

What is the best time to visit Machu Picchu?

The dry season, which runs from April to October, is considered the best time to visit Machu Picchu. During these months, the weather is more stable and there is less chance of heavy rainfall, allowing you to explore the archaeological site and enjoy its breathtaking scenery to the fullest. However, if you’re looking to avoid crowds, appreciate the lush vegetation and find more affordable prices, you can opt to travel during the rest of the year.

What is the Inca Trail?

The Inca Trail is an ancient hiking route built by the Incas that connects the city of Cusco with the citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru. It is a famous and popular hike among tourists that offers breathtaking scenery, archaeological ruins and a unique experience to learn about the Inca culture.

Where is Machu Picchu located in Cusco?

Machu Picchu is located in the region of Cusco, Peru, in the province of Urubamba, district of Machu Picchu.


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