Machu Picchu: The History and Mystery of the Incan City

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Others argued that the lack of valuable gold artifacts, the inoccupation of all the elegant tombs, and evidence of severe fires indicate that the Spanish did, in fact, discover Machu Picchu. Without definitive evidence either way, no explanation has been agreed upon.

Machu Picchu is located about Far below is the Urubamba River, surrounding the site on three sides. The climate is temperate and humid, typical for the eastern part of the Andes Mountains. The site was most likely chosen for its beauty, as well as the proximity to a natural spring. The area surrounding the city is filled with many diverse species of flora and fauna. In particular, there are over 50 varieties of orchids, and numerous llamas.

Machu Picchu is divided into two main zones: the agricultural sector and the urban sector. The agricultural zone contains more than three hundred terraces, which provided nearly six hectares of land that made farming possible on the mountainside. There are also small dwellings and storehouses present in the agricultural sector.

11 Machu Picchu Facts:

The urban sector is divided into two main zones: the Hanan upper Sector to the west, which contains the Royal Palace, the more sacred spaces, and the Intihuatana; and the Urin lower Sector to the east, which contains the Crypt of the Condor, the Palace of the Three Doors, the eastern mausoleum, as well as a great number of dwelling units. The buildings and areas of the urban sector are connected through a series of narrow stairs and paths, with the Main Plaza separating the upper and lower sectors.

An emperor’s abode

The Royal Palace faces the entrance of the Royal Mausoleum, and is surrounded primarily by gardens and terraces. There are areas thought to have housed sentries, and a ring set in the wall that is thought to have secured a guard animal. The palace has a canal of water and a water supply, as well as areas thought to be residential, hygienic, and a multi-purpose hall with many niches in the walls.

Machu Picchu Facts – 11 Fascinating Details of the Inca Citadel

A semi circular structure of fine ashlar surrounds the crypt, which is carved out of rock. If the crypt did indeed hold the body of the Inca ruler, there would have been a golden statue in his likeness in the Torreon. Behind this temple was found a large amount of shattered pottery, including many cups and jars, which suggest some sort of ceremony that involved the throwing of vessels. Nearby, the Main Temple of Machu Picchu stands with its fine polygonal stonework.

The sculpted rock stands 6 feet high and rests on a series of carved levels. It is believed that the stone was likely used as a calendar, as well as possibly serving an astronomical purpose.

Machu Picchu: The Inca’s old town, a place with a lot of mysteries yet to be discovered

Near the stone are three small buildings, which likely served as shelter for guardians of the stone. Regardless of the use of the whole city, the Intihuatana and other places related to the sun clearly had religious significance to the Inca, dedicated to Inti, their sun god and greatest deity. Several terraces below, there is a group of eight buildings, mostly subterranean or semi-subterranean, which are believed to have been a mausoleum for important personages. Across from the gardens of the Royal Palace is the Crypt of the Condor, a group of carved caves that may have been used to hold mummies, or may have been used for religious purposes.

The presence of a granite carving of a condor indicates a religious purpose, as the condor is one of three sacred Inca animals. North of the caves there is an altar carved from stone, as well as three niches in the walls. Many have suggested that these niches, which have a means of fastening something to the rock wall, were used as prisons or torture chambers.

Machu Picchu

However, archaeologists claim that there is no evidence to support these imaginative ideas, and the niches may equally well have been used to hold mummies or golden images. This type of construction was used in areas where the rock would be visible. In other areas, walls were made of more rustic hewn stone and either plastered or stuccoed over. Many dwelling units had two stories, and most likely had thatched roofs.

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The Inca used a trapezoidal shape for windows and doors, and doors likely were hinged at the top in order to be propped up by wood when open. Despite their lack of a written language or the use of the wheel, the Inca were remarkably advanced in their understanding of drainage, construction, and hydrology.


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Buildings and terraces were constructed over foundations made from layers of gravel and rock, and drainage systems were designed to keep water from damaging the buildings or their foundations. From there, water was carried to the main drain through an underground stone channel. Well planned drainage systems are essential to the longevity of a structure. Drainage holes were installed in walls and structures, and drainage channels built into stairways, walkways, and building interiors carried excess water to the main drain.

Lost City of Machu Picchu

Channels were carved into buildings to serve as gutters and direct water away from foundations. The site can be reached by taking a train to nearby Aguas Calientes, then a bus to the ruins, or by the longer, more traditional four day hike from Cuzco along the Inca Trail. At the time of transition, with the arrival of the Spanish populations were reduced the town of people who lived there, so this was a time in which foreign came, where not only was uninhabitated town, but that there were events such as the destruction and burning of the Tower of the Temple of the Sun.

Since then, there have been many more stories that have passed through this mythical village, from its rediscovery, until the reports and views of very famous people that has been attracted by this spectacular place that continues to talk about, because there are so many secrets hidden, that remain and are counted by the guides.


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  • The area is divided into the Hanan sector, where we can find the temple of the Sun and the sacred plaza; and the Hurin with houses of sacred rock and fountains stairway; in addition to the area of the quarries where they were found many archaeological objects of cultural value and of course there are also other things of interest as well as inbound and outbound channels, rocks in the medium cut and ramps to mobilize the same. Check In Date. Number of Nights. Email address:. Trip Advisor Awards. TourCert Certification.

    Calidad Turistica Cusco.

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