Facts about Machu Picchu

Honestly before today I didn’t really know why there was such a hype over Machu Picchu. Once I arrived in Cusco there were so many other places with Incan ruins. While I was climbing the stairs towards Machu Picchu, for 40 minutes at the crack of dawn, I didn’t quite know what I was about to learn…

It’s much bigger than the other ruins we had visited and much better conserved. Straight after our 1 hour tour and our final moments with our tour guide, I jotted down all the facts that I could remember about what he had just told us. This post really is just about the facts that I don’t want to forget while it’s fresh in my mind. Because seriously what is Machu Picchu?

  • It has been 70% preserved and 30% reconstructed. One of the most preserved Incan ruins in Peru.
  • It was most preserved because of it’s isolated location. The conquistadors never reached the site as it’s surrounded by Rio Urubamba. The bridges were cut off preventing easy access and so the Spaniards were unaware of its existence.
  • Hiram Bingham an American professor paid 1 sole to Pablito, a 11-year-old local boy to show him Machu Picchu in 1911, and thus spread the word of its existence.
  • Once discovered, Machu Picchu was burnt to clear the overgrown bush that hid the ruins.
  • Huayna Picchu is the tall mountain behind the historical site.
  • Machu Picchu is split into two sectors, the urban city and the agricultural city.
  • The site is equivalent to a university town because here the Incans learnt architecture, agriculture and engineering.
  • The word Inca originally only referred to the governor of the “common people” but today everyone refers to the whole Indigenous population as Incans.
  • There are seven known and visible entry points to the site. However, there could possibly be 11.
  • At the Temple of the Sun, INTI, the principle God, the Sun, was worshipped through the trapezoidal window.
  • Sacrifices were made at the site with the belief that while they were most high, they were closer to the sky and better able to perform rituals and ceremonies. The heart of a black llama was the most pure form of sacrifice.
  • Skulls of children were discovered when the site was first re-explored, which indicated that children also populated Machu Picchu.
  • No one was forced to work to build the city. People wanted to work and were payed in food.

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