Many people, no matter their age, frequently ask us or search on Google what Machu Picchu really is. Or what is the history of Machu Picchu. And it is true, many of us don’t have a real idea of what it is and what makes the Inca Citadel so appealing. And, when you decide to look out for information you will find tons and tons of digital info. So, here we present a simple but clear abstract about this famous city, plus some not-so-known facts about it.
What exactly is Machu Picchu?
Nowadays Machu Picchu is a protected Archaeological Sanctuary, proclaimed World Heritage by UNESCO in 1983, and is considered one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. This sanctuary attracts around 1 000 000 visitors per year. People come looking to live history by themselves and discover the way the mighty Empire of the Incas rose and felled.
But back in its day it was an amazing and very well designed complex commissioned by the great Inca emperor Pachacuti mainly to be a religious place and as an observatory. Construction started around 1450 but it was never was completely finished. The Inca civilization was very advanced in stars observation and they used that knowledge to aid farming and to pay tribute to their gods. It is said the citadel was inhabited only around 100 years; ending when the Spanish conquest occurred.
Why was Machu Picchu built?
Old tales say that just in the surroundings of Machu Picchu was fought the battle where the Incas defeated the Chankas, one of the stronger tribes in the valley. Then from this event on they started the massive expansion of the Inca empire. Lead by the young emperor Pachacutec, the Tuhuantaysiyo expanded, and he ordered the construction of Cusco as the capital city and the building of Machu Picchu.
The archaeological studies has shown Machu Picchu was built in a strategic location, the Vilcanota range, surrounded by cliffs and not visible to anyone who walk the valley below yet, close to Cusco the capital city of the empire.
It is also said that the main reason it was “undescovered” for such a long time is because the roads that lead to the citadel were forbidden for anyone who didn’t belong to the close circle of the emperor. However, other theories tell us that Machu Picchu was never abandoned.
According to Mark Adams from National Geographic website, there are some no so clear “things” around Machu Picchu, here we tell you the most interesting to us:
If you walk away from the main ruins you can observe some faded away trails that seem to have been swallowed by the foliage. Where are those trails going? We don’t know. That’s something telling us that maybe there are some places yet to be discovered.
The Preparation to enter the Sacred City
The Italian archaeoastronomer Giulio Magli asked himself: Why the Incas didn’t make their way through the banks of the Urubamba river when heading to Machu Picchu? Instead they took the longer and sometime dangerous inca trail but with a beautiful sight. Magli suggest, based on the legend, that the first Inca made a celestial journey from the Island of the Sun in Lake Titicaca; and so the Inca trail was some kind of a preparation in order to be ready to enter the citadel.
What if we tell you Machu Picchu is not the real name?
A Spanish historian called Mari Rubio claims that the real name of Machu Picchu was Patallaqta, that translates Pata=Steps and Llaqta=Town. She bases her argument on the chronicles by Juan de Betanzos. It’s really possible that Machu Picchu was named by the Spanish conquistadores because Picchu was the way to name a Pico (peak) in Spanish.
We are so happy to be in this land where we can learn more about the history of mankind. If you want to be a part of this knowledge we have a lot of options to bring you here, so you can enjoy the trip of your life.
Call us today, We’ll be glad to chat with you.