Machu Picchu (is derived from the Quechua language it means “old peak”) – the mysterious city of the Incas that was built in the middle of the 15th century and is a touristic centre in Peru. It’s located about 100 km away from the Cusco city, the capital of the Incas Empire and is hidden in the Andes in such an inaccessible way that the Spanish colonizers couldn’t reach it. This city became known and brought to international attention in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. It should be noted that local habitants always were aware of the Machu Picchu but they didn’t want to share with strangers.
The history how Machu Picchu was discovered
The history, how this city was discovered is very interesting: the point is that Hiram Bingham was looking for a completely other city - the legendary Vilcabamba, the place where, according to the legend of the Incas, a lot of treasures and mummies of the governors were brought to during the period of the Spanish conquest. Bingham was wandering along the mountains hoping to find at least one trail of this city and he met a boy on his way carrying the ceramic jug. As Bingham was a skilled scientist, he immediately noticed that the jug was not simple and he asked the boy where he took it. The local habitants were trying to avoid sharing any information with strangers, however, as he was a boy he showed him the way to the Machu Picchu.
The engineering and architectural masterpiece
Machu Picchu amazingly blends into the surrounded landscape so that’s why it is often called “a city in the heaven” or “a city among the clouds”. Triangular shaped roofs of the buildings seem to be a part of the landscape. This is totally an engineering and architectural masterpiece: in order to build such city the craftsmen should have been skilled in topography, geology, astronomy and ecology: while constructing the city the natural slopes were used and the techniques that were used for construction provided the building sustainability even in the case of cliff inclination angle of 40* or in the case of an earthquake. Today the Machu Picchu structure at whole seems impossible – the stones were brought from the remote quarries: carried them down the wet clay slopes, dragged them over the logs and then grinded it thoroughly the way that you can’t pull the blade through the seam holes.
Machu Picchu was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and in 2007 was voted one the New Seven Wonders of the World.
The name of the city
It is not known yet what was the purpose of building Machu Picchu. According to the documentation of XVI century, it was the residence of Pachacutec Inca (1438-1470) which after his death turned into a place where the children of noble Cusco families were studying. Men studied astronomy and women studied textile. Another version supposes that the city was constructed for military and defensive purposes: firstly, it controlled the surrounded tribes that belonged to the Incas and secondly under the control of Machu Picchu people had access to the tropical and subtropical fertile areas where fruits, pumpkins, coca and different medical plants were grown, which at that time were considered the most essential products.