Between the cloud forests and mountainous landscapes, the ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu rises between the Andes. It is one of the most visited places of Peru and in the world. But the legends and myths about Machu Picchu do not always correspond to reality.
In the Sacred Valley of the Incas, the famous ruins captivate the interest of visitors from all over the planet. Many people wonder if everything they hear about “the lost city” is true.
Who discovered Machu Picchu?
It is said that the American explorer Hiram Bingham “discovered” the ancient citadel of the Incas. In July, 107 years of this event were celebrated.
According to many documented history books, Machu Picchu was discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911. But Machu Picchu was discovered in 1902 by a breeder who lived on the banks of the Vilcanota River, Melchor Arteaga.
We can say that Bingham studied the place, but it is not for his discovery. When he arrived, there were people who talked him about the place.
However, he has organized an entire interdisciplinary expedition and has done a lot of research of the archaeological park of Machu Picchu.
Bingham also played an important role in drawing international attention to the archaeological site.
Why was it built on the top of a mountain?
Several legends explain why it was placed up there: the Inca Pachacutec had built after defeating his enemies, it was a sacred place of cults to the Sun.
Machu Picchu was built at more than 2,400 meters of altitude in a natural viewpoint of the Peruvian Andes and the Amazon basin. They may have chosen this location because of its geographical importance.
Possibbly the Incas, before building the citadel, were doing a research. For them, the hills are “Apus” (gods), and the district of Machu Picchu is surrounded by three Apus, protected by these mountains.
In addition, it was in a high place and they were in constant confrontation with the Chanca culture. So they built in the high areas to better defend themselves.
Recent studies have shown that Machu Picchu was the place from which the Incas administered their empire and it was therefore logical that it was at the highest point in terms of military strategy.
How did Machu Picchu stay so well preserved for so long?
The Inca walls and buildings of Machu Picchu are practically intact, with the exception of the roofs, which have disappeared over the years and because of heavy rains.
Five centuries have passed, how did Machu Picchu manage to be so well preserved?
The construction of Machu Picchu is a testament to the remarkable techniques used by the Incas.
The cultivated terraces (a vast network of stepped platforms) were very important for their preservation because they served as a drainage system, so the whole citadel remained intact and also thanks to the light tilt and shape of walls.
Machu Picchu even survived two earthquakes in Cusco (1650 and 1950) that destroyed colonial buildings, but not Inca.
But there is another reason: “When the Spaniards arrived at an archaeological site, their intention was to destroy, but the Spaniards did not arrive at Machu Picchu, which is why it remained so well preserved.
The Spanish could not enter to Machu Picchu with their mules or their horses, because the Emperor Manco Inca had destroyed all the roads that led to Machu Picchu, or at least the parts most difficult to cross when he retired in 1539.
In all these years, giant trees grew up, so Bingham found an abandoned village that remained intact behind these trees. This vegetation and its isolation “guaranteed the preservation of its architecture.
Is Machu Picchu in danger of disappearing?
Some press reports say that climate change and excessive tourism could make Machu Picchu disappear and “deteriorate at a rate never seen before”.
The people of Cusco, the Peruvian state and the world have the responsibility of keeping alive this world heritage. Not only to generate a beautiful speech, but also so that it is always present for future generations and that it makes no sense to ask this question.
In addition, UNESCO specialist, said that the Peruvian authorities “are responsible for the protection of Machu Picchu and are continually working to mitigate the potential impacts of tourism, natural disasters and the effects of climate change. “.
Although it is in an excellent state of conservation, it is essential to put in place an adequate protection policy in the medium and long term to counter these threats.
Two years ago, a group of Korean geologists came in and checked the movement points and the sliding of the walls. They said there was a detachment and a separation of 0.5 millimeter because of the number of tourists who visited it and constant rains, so they recommended that access be limited to tourists in certain places. That’s the reason why in the Intihuatana area, where you can only take the picture and move quickly.