The Mysterious Machu Picchu
There is something about the mysterious Machu Picchu; the lost city of the Incas that is so very enchanting. Just seeing the name ‘Machu Picchu’ makes one wonder about what mysteries lie beneath the name and creates a desire to explore its’ history and discover more.
Machu Picchu is a city built of stone that was covered in jungle for centuries before being discovered by Professor Hiram Bingham of Yale University in 1911, while looking for another legendary Inca city, which he never found. Tucked away for centuries, hidden by the side of a mountain, Machu Picchu remained undiscovered even by the Spanish invaders and remained largely intact when found by Bingham making the discovery all the more significant.
An old Inca Trail network was also found which leads through the mountains to the lost city of Machu Picchu. Today, this trail is used by thousands of tourists every year to hike to Machu Picchu.
There are many theories about Machu Picchu today. Some believe that the site was built around 1400 AD by Pachacuti, but others believe it to have been built much earlier. Machu Picchu is a city of more than 200 buildings, temples, houses, fountains and alters all made from granite extracted from the surrounding mountains and imported from far away locations as well. This feat of engineering is marveled by historians and architects today, in our increasingly technologically advanced world. But despite all the advances of the modern world, we still do not have all of the answers, including how the Inca managed to build such a marvel as Machu Picchu. The stones fit perfectly together so accurately that it is almost impossible to fit a single piece of paper between the stones. How was all of this possible? What did they have to do to bring this magnificent city together? We may never know.
Machu Picchu is Peru’s most visited site and is on UNESCO’s list of World Heritage sites in danger. When visiting remember to treat the ruins with the respect they deserve, as it is our duty to preserve history.
Why did the mighty Incas build Machu Picchu? It is not exactly clear, one theory is that it was a site for astronomical observations, with a stone in the center called Intihuatana, believed to be the gateway to the spirit world. Whatever it was built for, it was obviously a place of great significance. There are many assumptions made by historians and archaeologists, who continue to search the ruins for clues of the mysterious Machu Picchu and the purpose it served to the Incas.
The art of the Inca People is seen in the stones, there are alters and carved rocks aligned perfectly with the changing seasons, mountains, doorways and the windows which are arranged in perfectly measured rows making this historical site all the more special.
How the Incas managed to do any of that is such a mystery that some have said the only explanation to make sense is that people from another planet visited the Incas at Machu Picchu and helped them construct the site. But this is also said about the ancient Nazca Lines, so who knows?
It is also unknown why the mysterious Machu Picchu was abandoned by the Incas, one theory is that upon the arrival of the Europeans, with them they brought disease which made its way to Machu Picchu from Cusco by the Inca´s. Little is known whether this theory holds true but what is know, is that no human remains were found at the site of Machu Picchu which only happened to be inhabited for around 100 years which was enough time for the Inca´s to build an amazing place for the people of today to enjoy.
Whoever they were, wherever they were from. The Inca´s were a very special and intelligent race of people, united throughout all of Peru, Ecuador and Bolivia. They built wonderful cities and created pathways that connected these cities and built beautiful terracing that is still used today.
More recently new excavations are taking place at Machu Picchu and they have uncovered a secret entrance that may lead to an underground room in the center of the city that may or may not be filled with unknown treasures. The existence of this room has been confirmed by modern instruments that have been verified so we now have to wait for the next chapter of Machu Picchu’s history to unravel before us.
Machu Picchu is a must see on any vacation to Peru or South America, and you can get there by taking one of the world’s best train journeys to reach this mysterious place and experience a trip of a lifetime.