Ensconced in the slopes of the Andes, the ruins of Machu Picchu speak a lot of the mysteries of the Inca Empire. While the archaeological site entices visitors to visit Peru annually, more is to learn about this majestic piece of land and its fascinating history. It is surrounded by a landscape of mountains and rainforest, making its places shrouded by mystery.
The town has some of the most artistic and sophisticated architectural feats of the ancient world, although it was only known to the modern world until it was well into the 1900s. And, there are still many things to discover about the history, culture, and construction of this popular tourist destination. Although you may know a lot about this place, here are some secrets of Machu Picchu that you may not know about.
It’s Not Incas’ Lost City
Explorer Hiram Bingham III discovered Machu Picchu in 1911. However, he was looking for a different place, i.e., the Lost City of the Incas, popular as Vilcabamba.
Mistakenly, he thought that Machu Picchu was Vilcabamba, where the Incas had fled to and made a shelter for themselves before the Spanish arrived in 1532. Bingham’s theory went for a toss when Gene Savoy found Espiritu Pampa, the real lost city, in 1964.
The Incas Covered Up Access Trails
The Incas found a way to protect Machu Picchu from the Spanish. They burned the forests protecting the town so that the re-growth would cover all the access trails. The Spanish never discovered the town and remained unknown to the rest of the world till Bingham visited in 1911. Many believed that the Incas abandoned the town. When it was discovered, only three families lived in the city, which led to the theory that it was never a forgotten city.
The Incas Built an Earthquake-Resistant Town
Another carefully-guarded Machu Picchu secret is that the Incas were wary of earthquakes destroying their buildings. They made buildings that would protect them from frequent earthquakes that had the potency to turn the town into rubble.
The city is on top of two fault lines. The secret of building strong earthquake-resistant buildings is employing an engineering technique known as ashlar masonry. This would cut the rocks to sit together perfectly without using the mortar. The stones danced in place during an earthquake and set them back to the original spot after the tremors stopped. An ancient yet ingenious way to protect the buildings from the rigors of earthquakes.
Most of The Infrastructure is Underground
While tourists cannot have enough of the engineering wonders of the ancient city, research suggests that 60% of the town’s construction is deep-rooted as it is underground. The Incas made deep building foundations and used extensive crushed rock drainage systems to combat the excesses of the rainy season.
There Are Several Peaks to Climb
Some tourists want to reach the peak of Machu Picchu as soon as possible. They are too impatient to stand in a queue. And that’s because the 60-minute climb up the Huayna Picchu is trouble enough. Most people do not want to wait in a queue to climb to the peak, which turns out to be distressful for the average traveler. Don’t worry. There are other peaks as tall as the Huayna Picchu at 1,640ft. The sweeping views of the Urubamba River finding its serpentine way around the entire ancient city are a sight to behold. You don’t want to miss it by any chance.
It was the Destination of Choice for the Royals
Many archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was designed as a resort town so that the royal family could visit it to take a break from the madness of the busy city of the Cuzco. Doesn’t it sound enthralling that the royals would choose this ancient city to escape, much like the modern-day cities and their people?
Have you ever thought of visiting this ancient city and discovering its many secrets? Well, Machu Picchu remains one of the most popular tourist destinations, and why not? One look at its image will tell you how beautiful and ethereal it looks? Imagine how it would look if you feast your eyes on it for real? Have you been to Machu Picchu, or do you plan on visiting it? Do let us know in the comments section.