Machu Pichu is one of the most interesting Heritage sites in the world. Situated more than 7000 feet above sea level, it is a breath-taking glimpse into human artistry. Machu Pichu is an ancient citadel known for its splendid architectural beauty. It is undoubtedly one of the most visited tourist spots in South America. Let us explore some very interesting facts about this amazing man-made wonder.
Machu Pichu was built by the Inca Empire
It is believed that the site was built as an estate for one of the Inca emperors. The estate was habituated by the Incas only for a century. During the Spanish Conquest, Machu Pichu was abandoned by the original dynasty. Others theories indicate that it might have been built as a venue for the coronation of kings. Various other beliefs center around the motive for building the citadel. It is also said to have been a women’s retreat, a trade hub, a prison and a testing station for crops.
Machu Pichu was built without the aid of wheels
It is astounding how the Incas managed to build an entire citadel without the help of any animals or carts to lug around vast quantities of stones. Yet, the architecture is such that even something as thin as a knife will not be able to wedge between two stones of the structure. This was the result of using a unique technique called ‘Ashlar’ wherein stone shapes are designed to perfectly fit together. Most of the Inca cities were demolished, but Machu Pichu survived the conquest because it was hidden among mountain peaks.
There is a no-fly zone above Machu Pichu
Since it is one of the major attractions of South America, the government has imposed a no-fly zone above it. It is said that the Incas were the oldest empire in Pre-Columbian America. Machu Pichu is South America’s most pouplar ruin and it incurs a visitor count of 2500+ every single day. The tourists are required to take a permit in order to enter the site via the famous Inca-trail. The citadel is strategically placed in between mountain ranges though which the river Urubamba flows.
Machu Pichu means ‘Old Mountain’ in ancient Indian Language
This architectural wonder was named a UNESCO Heritage site in 1983 and one of the new seven wonders in 2007. The US Government is under pressure for returning artifacts taken to be examined in Yale University by Professor Hiram Bingham. Among other things, Mach Pichu was also a observatory indicating the two equinoxes in a year. It is so built that the Sun actually sits directly over the stone without forming shadows for twice in a year.
More than 150 buildings ensconced within Machu Pichu
These buildings include houses, baths, temples and sanctuaries. The most prominent among the buildings are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. Most of the buildings were destroyed which led to heavy restoration after being discovered. However, the structures have been rebuilt keeping in mind their original design. The restoration work continues even as you read this article. In 1981, Machu Pichu was also named a Peruvian Historic Sanctuary.
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