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Machu Picchu is an extraordinary site in Peru and one of the most enigmatic wonders of the world. Built at almost 10,000 feet atop an Andean mountain, the Incas constructed hundreds of structures made entirely of stone and created in unfaltering design. Believed to be a clandestine ceremonial city where countless sacrificial rites were performed, a large number of Machu Picchu’s surrounding structures date to the early 13th century, but it was considered a chief sacred site far before then. The Inca people converted the large site into a diminutive but magnificent city, completely self-sufficient and hidden from below. Agricultural terraces surrounded the entire city, fed by natural spring water, sustaining the entire population.
Some Hidden Facts Of Machu Picchu
1. Inca emperor(Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui) ordered the construction of Machu Picchu to celebrate the defeat of a powerful rival ethnic group called the Chancas.
2. Machu Picchu is made up of more than 150 buildings ranging from baths and houses to temples and sanctuaries.
3. The compound contains more than 100 separate flights of stairs. Most of the individual staircases were carved from one slab of stone.
4. Although many of the stones that were used to build the city were more than 50 pounds, it is believed that no wheels were used to transport these rocks up the mountain. Rather, it is thought that hundreds of men pushed the heavy rocks up the steep mountain side.
5. Machu Picchu was an astronomical observatory, and its sacred Intihuatana stone accurately indicates the two equinoxes. Twice a year, the sun sits directly over the stone creating no shadow.
6. Unfortunately, most cities built by the Inca civilization were destroyed by the Spanish conquest. Machu Picchu was in a hidden location – invisible from below – and not found, making it one of the most well-preserved Inca cities and an archeological gem.
7. Machu Picchu is called the “lost city” because the jungle had literally swallowed it when Yale explorer Hiram Bingham III “rediscovered” it in 1911. When the overgrown vegetation was removed, the complex of ruins was revealed.
8. With one notable and outrageous exception: the sundial at the Intihuatana stone, called the “Hitching Post of the Sun.” At the spring and autumn equinoxes, the sun shines overhead and casts no shadow, another of the wonders of Machu Picchu
9. The stones at Machu Picchu are in remarkably good shape
10. The Incas, who created incredible architecture and political systems, had no known written system of language, although some scientists suggest khipu may also have served that function.
11. Hiram Bingham may not have been the first European to find Machu Picchu. Some say it was a German named Augusto Berns who came upon it in 1867.
12. Machu Picchu was abandoned in the mid-16th century.
13. Machu Picchu has several terraces, rooms, temples, and chambers. It is believed that the Incas left Machu Picchu to go further towards the jungle to hide from the Spaniards. There is not a definite answer about its purpose. One theory says that Machu Picchu was an observatory because during the winter solstice at dawn the sun shines through the “Torreón” located at the Sun Temple. This is only one of mysteries of Machu Picchu. Also, it is believed that Machu Picchu is full of energy.
14. Remember, Machu Picchu is below the Equator, so our summer is their winter. But it’s not exactly arctic in winter in this subtropical climate.
15. Several excavations showed interesting regularity that there were 10 women for one man. On this basis scientists assumed that Macchu-Picchu was a sacred asylum for legendary “Alkas, the most beautiful virgins that dedicated themselves to the ministering to the Sun God.
16. It is believed that the Funerary Rock at Machu Picchu was utilized as a placed to prepare Inca nobles for preservation, or mummifying, a common ritual among the tribe. Nobles would be laid out after to be mummified by the hot sun and freezing cold nights after their organs were removed. The large, carved rock appears to have been created from one massive stone slab. The rock is also notable as a spot from which an all-encompassing view of the city is afforded. Also in view is the beginning of the Inca Trail as well as the road connecting Machu Picchu to Cuzco (the ancient capital of the Inca people and another popular destination in Peru). The Funerary Rock hut is adjacent.
17. When the Incas built Machu Picchu they shaped the stones of the buildings so exact that to this day you can’t fit a thin knife between the stones. The stones aren’t staying together because of mortar but because of pure craftsmanship.
18. The Incas built many towers for them to look out for other rival tribes. The Torreon thought to be a defensive tower was built over a sacred ghetto, though it could have been a sun temple.
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