The History of Machu Picchu in 5 Minutes
Although your global travels may have never taken you to Peru, there is no doubt that you’ve heard of the Incan Empire, as well as its greatest creation – the legendary Machu Picchu. Completed in 1450 as a majestic estate for the Inca Emperor Pachacuti, the site was abandoned a little more than a century later, as a result of the Spanish conquest of the region.
The site itself is situated nearly 8,000 feet above sea level on a stunning mountain ridge overlooking the Sacred Valley in the Cuzco Region of Peru. Although it was created more than 500 years ago, the outside world had no knowledge of this incredible archaeological site until the early 20th century, which is why Machu Picchu is often known as “The Lost City of the Incas”. The three major structures of the site are the Temple of the Sun, the Inti Watana, and the Room of the Three Windows.
The site could have easily gone another century or two without being discovered, but an American lecturer from Yale University, Hiram Bingham, would finally pull back the curtain on Machu Picchu and expose it to the eyes of the world. He was actually studying the last capital of the Incan Empire, Vitcos, when he asked a local farmer if he was aware of any other ruins in the region.
The farmer led Bingham up Huayna Picchu mountain, where they stumbled across a few indigenous locals farming on the original terraces of Machu Picchu. From there, it was only a short journey to the top of the ridge, where the magnificent site of Machu Picchu was discovered.
Even during the period of Spanish occupation, this city among the clouds remained unknown and undamaged. Unlike many other important Incan sites, Machu Picchu was not plundered, providing archaeologists and visitors alike a unique opportunity to explore and understand the mysterious empire of the Incas.
Despite being protected from the curious eyes of the world for over 400 years, time is still a cruel mistress, and many of the outlying buildings and structures were worn down over time, and when the site was discovered, much of it was in ruins.
After being named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in the early 1980s, restoration efforts have been continuously underway, and have returned approximately 30% of the original structures to their previous appearance.
If you would like to join a tour to trek to the summit of Machu pichu and enjoy some luxurious accommodation along the way then why not take a look at Inspired Escape’s Machu Picchu Trek And Spa
Alternatively, if you have less time and fancy camping along the way then why not take a look at Chimu Adventures’ Classic Inca Trail
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