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Machu Picchu History in 5 Min

Machu Picchu's history is shrouded in a bit of mystery, but archaeologists believe it was built around 1450 by the Inca emperor Pachacuti, possibly as a luxurious estate or retreat. It wasn't occupied for long though, as the Inca mysteriously abandoned Machu Picchu just a century later, around the time the Spanish conquistadors arrived. Incredibly, the Spanish never even found this mountaintop citadel, leaving it hidden for centuries.

Machu Picchu remained a secret until 1911, when Hiram Bingham, an explorer from Yale University, stumbled upon it with the help of locals. The site was largely untouched by time, showcasing the incredible Inca engineering skills.

Machu Picchu Rock Formations

More Fun Facts:

  • The name "Machu Picchu" actually translates to "Old Peak" or "Old Mountain" in the Quechua language, spoken by the Inca people.

  • Machu Picchu isn't just one structure, it's a complex of over 150 buildings, including temples, houses, baths and sanctuaries, all connected by over 100 flights of stairs!

  • Though Machu Picchu is high in the Andes mountains, it's actually lower in altitude than the nearby city of Cusco. This means you're less likely to suffer from altitude sickness when visiting Machu Picchu!

Huayna Picchu Hike in Machu Picchu
  • The Incas built Machu Picchu without the use of the wheel or metal tools! They meticulously carved massive stones to fit together perfectly, creating buildings that have withstood centuries of earthquakes.

  • The complex system of terraces the Inca built for agriculture. These terraces carved into the mountainside allowed them to farm a variety of crops despite the challenging mountain environment.

  • Today, Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, a testament to the ingenuity and legacy of the Inca civilization.

Machu Picchu History

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