Interesting Facts About the Most Important Icon of the Inca World - Machu Picchu
The name Machu Picchu are Quecha words which means "Old Mountain". This impressive Inca site is located 2,430 meters above sea level. It is oftentimes regarded as "The Lost City of the Incas",
Here are some interesting facts about Machu Picchu
1.) Machu Picchu is one of South America’s most significant archaeological sites. It is in fact, one of the most visited tourist attractions in all of South America and Peru’s most visited tourist attraction.
2.) In 1981, this archeological site was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary and in 1983 it was proclaimed a World Heritage Site by UNESCO describing it as "an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to the Inca civilization"
3.) In 2007, Machu Picchu was also voted via worldwide internet poll in 2007 as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
4.) Machu Picchu is popularly known locally and was only known internationally in 1911 and since then has become an important tourist attraction.
5.) Machu Picchu’s most prestigious buildings are the Temple of the Sun, Intihuatana and the Room of the Three Windows which were built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls.
6.) This historical sanctuary was built around 1450 during the height of the Inca Empire but was abandoned after more than 100 years due to Spanish Conquest.
7.) After Machu Picchu was abandoned, the surrounding jungle covered much of the site and few outsiders knew of its existence.
8.) Although the Spaniards conquered much of Peru and other South American countries, they never found Machu Picchu hence it was preserved.
9.) In 1913 the National Geographic Society focused their entire April issue to Machu Picchu and the site received significant publicity and became famous worldwide.
10.) In 2008, due to environmental degradation, the World Monument Fund placed Machu Picchu on its Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world.
11.) In constructing buildings, the Incas were masters of a technique called ashlar, in which blocks of stone are cut to fit together tightly without mortar.
12.) Until now, how they moved and placed the enormous blocks of stones remains a mystery. However, it is believed that they used hundreds of men to push the stones up inclined planes.
13.) There are more than one hundred flights of stone steps in Machu Picchu. These stone steps are often completely carved from a single block of granite. In addition, there are numerous water fountains.
14.) The Incas also built a road called the “Inca Trail” that leads to the Machu Picchu region from which thousands of tourists every year walk to visit the site.
15.) Machu Picchu suffered flooding due to heavy rain in January 2010 and buried roads and railways leading to the site. About 2,000 locals and more than 2,000 tourists were trapped and were taken out by airlift. The site was closed for a while and reopened in February 2010.
16.) The Intihuatana or Sun-tier, one of the most notable objects in Machu Picchu, is believed to have been designed as an astronomic clock or calendar by the Incas.
17.) The Inca believed the stone held the sun in its place along its annual path in the sky. At midday on October 27 and February 14, the sun stands almost above the pillar—casting no shadow at all.
18.) To further protect this world-class archeological site, a “no-fly zone” exists above the area.
19.) Most of the significant artifacts of Machu Picchu are held by Yale University. In November 2010, Yale University agreed in principle to return controversial artifacts to their original home in Peru.
20.) Paramount Pictures’ 1954 film “Secret of the Incas” was filmed on location at Cusco (Inca Empire’s capital) and Machu Picchu. About 500 indigenous people were hired as extras in the film.