Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, an Incan city nestled atop a mountain in the Peruvian Andes, has been captivating explorers and tourists alike for centuries, ever since its “rediscovery” in 1911 by the American explorer Hiram Bingham. Built as an estate for the Incan Emperor Pachacuti in the 15th century, the city’s precise location had been a mystery for decades. Despite being virtually unknown to the Western world, Machu Picchu remained largely unscathed by the Spanish conquest, thanks to its mountainous perch.

Today, Machu Picchu is still revered for its architectural sophistication and grandeur, so much so that it became a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and was voted one of the “New7Wonders of the World” in 2007. Scientists and historians alike have been drawn to the city ever since, by its mysterious nature, to uncover the secrets that its architecture and remains can tell us about the once-great Incan empire.

Why Is Machu Picchu so Significant?

Machu Picchu has long been recognized for its unique cultural and scientific significance. Not only was it the spiritual and political center of the Incan empire, but it was also an incredible feat of engineering. The city was precisely multi-leveled according to the rugged terrains of the mountain, and the architecture was designed to be in harmony with the environment. Its structure – including the three distinct sectors that it is made up of – shows a sophisticated knowledge of urban planning and building.

It is also part of a network of Incan sites, known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas, that span over 500 kilometers (300 miles) in Peru. This network, together with Machu Picchu, is believed to have been part of the Incan’s religious pilgrimage route and a center for astronomy and agriculture. The size and scale of the site is indicative of the sophisticated knowledge possessed by its inhabitants.

The Uncovering of Machu Picchu

For centuries, the city of Machu Picchu remained hidden beneath the mountains of Peru. It was discovered quite accidently in 1911 by American explorer Hiram Bingham, who was in Peru at the time looking for the lost city of Vilcapampa. Instead, he stumbled upon the Inca city of Machu Picchu and sought to further explore the area.

Since then, hundreds of archeologists and researchers have worked to uncover the history and secrets of the ancient city. Much of the current research at Machu Picchu is focused on uncovering the social and economic life within the city, as well as its architectural design, which is believed to have been designed to be harmonious with its surroundings.

Scientific Evidence of Machu Picchu

In addition to its architectural wonders, much scientific evidence has been discovered at Machu Picchu. Scientists have been able to find artifacts and remains that provide crucial scientific evidence about the lifestyle and customs of the people who lived there and the technology they used to construct and engineer the city.

For example, excavations have uncovered Inca pottery, jewelry, maize, and even human remains, which has provided valuable insight into the diet and beliefs of the Incas. Researchers have also found significant evidence of farming and animal husbandry, which provides a unique perspective on the city’s economy.

Another interesting scientific discovery at Machu Picchu is the Intihuatana stone. This stone, located in one of the ruins, is believed to have been part of an astronomical observatory or a stone clock. Upon further research, scientists have determined that the stone is aligned with the sun and is used to mark the changing of the seasons in the Incan calendar.

Machu Picchu As Part of Incan Culture

Besides being a technological feat, Machu Picchu also formed an important part of Incan culture and religion, which is still evident today in its ruins. These include spiritual symbols carved into the walls and structures, which showed the importance of nature and veneration of several gods in Incan culture.

In addition, Machu Picchu played a key role in the political and spiritual lives of the Incas. It served as a spiritual retreat and a symbol of Incan power and wealth, and as a pilgrimage site for nobles, priests, and high-ranking members of Incan society. Even today, it is believed that the energies of the city possess healing properties that have been beneficial to those who have visited it.

Machu Picchu is an ancient city of vast historical and scientific significance. For centuries, it had been virtually untouched by modern civilization, and even today its ruins offer a glimpse into the lives and culture of the once-great Incan empire. Its sophistication and grandeur remain unrivaled and its secrets still to be uncovered.

From its remarkable architecture to its abundance of scientific evidence, Machu Picchu has captivated scientists, historians, and visitors alike for centuries. Its place as a world wonder continues to be solidified in its captivating nature, and it invites all to come explore the secrets of its lost city.