Views 15 Jun Machu Picchu exposed!
 |  Category: Culture and Curiosities

Was Machu Picchu a city home to magicians? A summer residence for Inca rulers? An elite cosmological university or, perhaps it was more a refuge, functioning as a safeguard from wild Amazon tribes?

Even if you discard just another popular belief that is was used as a landing place for extraterrestrials, there are countless other theories floating around why it was constructed and in such a miraculous location.

The true answer to this question will be forever unknown. However there are some secrets we are able to reveal with certainty. The best thing is that these will only enlarge the mystic sensation grabbing you while visiting Machu Picchu:

Machu Picchu exposed!

There is a hidden shrine
You can climb, or better said crawl up the famous mountain known as Huayna Picchu; yes, that pointy one serving as a backdrop on every classic Machu Picchu postcard. It takes some serious hiking effort and clever preparation as only a limited amount of visitors are allowed to take on this relentlessly steep trail every day. What not many people know is that besides the impressive views from the top at 2,700 meters altitude, you can get to the Temple of the Moon where an elaborately shrine is sculpted out inside a cave, which most likely used to be a hidden rest place for mummies.

There are other mountains you can hike
Because Huayna Picchu gets all the fame for offering the best aerial views of Machu Picchu, there are only a handful of people that decide to climb the mountain on the other side of the Inca Citadel. Machu Picchu Mountain, with no visitor restrictions, is about twice the size of Huayna Picchu (which actually translates as ‘small peak’), provides its visitors with a complete different perspective of the archeological remains. The fact that you are almost alone staring from the highest peak deep down into the river valley is priceless, and truly magical.

It is earthquake proof
While the cities of Lima and Cusco both have been destroyed once from the impact of earthquakes, Machu Picchu is still there just like it has many centuries ago, but sitting on top of two fault lines. The Incas were masters in stone masonry, cutting stone so accurately that blocks were meticulously fitted together leaving not even a space to put a toothpick in between them. Their walls surely look beautiful, but the real beauty is that when an earthquake hit, the blocks are said to ‘shake’ only to fall back into their places when the upheaval ended. This engineering superiority over the Spaniards (also known as the ‘Inca-paces’, or incapables) became clear when many of their colonial buildings were in ruins after a quack, while the ancient Inca walls still stood fierce.

Machu Picchu exposed!

There is more than the eye can see
What is even more surprising is the fact that the Inca culture had no iron tools to cut stone and wheels and animals for transport up to a very high mountain. If considering this makes Machu Picchu already an amazing work of art, imagine now that more than 50% of the building done there cannot even be seen. Deep construction foundations and complex drainage systems made of rubble prevented the city from sliding off the cliffs. Even now, 101 years after the Western World got word of the location, newly exposed terraces are added to the complex. There are still overgrown trails running into the cloud forests that most likely lead to still undiscovered ruins.

Technically it is not the real Lost City
When Hiram Bingham, a professor from Yale and devoted explorer of ancient ruins, set about to find the Lost City of the Incas, known as ‘El Dorado’, by utter coincidence he stumbled upon Machu Picchu instead. While setting up camp at the Urubamba river banks, a local caretaker mistook Hiram’s quest to be searching for a very nearby place where a couple of farmer families were growing crops on terraces. Intrigued, it took only one Peruvian Sol to build a bridge and be guided straight to Machu Picchu. Due to the sheer magnificence of this superbly preserved Inca sanctuary, with its setting high in the mountains unseen from the road below, it was only logical to be mistaken for the legendary Lost City of the Incas. While in all reality the Incas had fled to a real hidden city in the jungle, Vilcabamba, when they got news of the Spanish bad intentions after their arrival in 1532.

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One Response

  1. 1
    Dos Manos Travel Agency Cusco 

    Interesting to say the least. Nice post!

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