Machu Picchu The Lost city

History

Machu Picchu is located in the rocky countryside of Cuzco in northwestern Peru. The great city was believed to have been a royal estate or possibly a sacred religious site of the Incan people. This city, once hidden under our noses, now gives us gives us both architectural and religious insights into a culture lost in time.

The name Machu Picchu in Quechua, the indigenous language of the Incan people, which means "old mountain." Interestingly enough, after three generations of Incan rulers, in 1572 Machu Picchu was suddenly and mysteriously abandoned.

The steps of Machu Picchu

The civilization was a hidden secret to the outside world for hundreds of years, until Hiram Bingham, a professor at Yale University, stumbled upon it in 1911.

Left: Professor Hiram Bingham. Right: The ancient city of Machu Picchu in the first phase of restauration.

Pyramid of the Sun

(Video Text) Machu Picchu’s pyramids were constructed with the common religious architectural pattern of truncation. In other words, they appear to stop abruptly. The only pyramid that differs from this pattern is the Temple of the Sun which possessed a semicircular wall. The Temple of the Sun is considered the most important building on site. Priests have observed how the sun casts shadows through windows, creating a spiritual connection with Inti. This particular method of construction implies incredible spiritual significance not only for the temple itself, but also for the entire city. This is Inti.

Architecture

Machu Picchu is enormous, stretching over 5 miles and containing a whopping 3,000 stone steps that connect the multiple levels of its structures. The site has approximately 200 buildings that are considered architectural wonders.

The architectural marvels of Machu Picchu

The steps of Machu Picchu are distinct from other sites because they were constructed out of carved granite stones which fit together perfectly. No mortar or cement was used to hold the stones together! Each rock was shaped by expert Inca stonemasons to fit perfectly together with the last.

Artificial Cranial Deformation

The culture of Machu Picchu was largely centered around traditional religious beliefs and practices, like that of head-binding.

(Video Text) When we think of our heads, we think of the way we look in the mirror today. But within the ruins of Machu Picchu archeologists have found skulls containing artificial cranial deformation. This is because the Incas head-boarded young children in order to exemplify social status and emulate the head-shape the gods were believed to possess. Moreover, it was believed to be aesthetically pleasing to have a elongated skull or occipital flattening.

Today, millions of people visit Machu Picchu, as it is considered one of the world's most famous man-made wonders. This previously concealed city now provides both architectural and religious intuitions into a civilization lost in time.

Bibliography

Discover Peru

Google Arts & Culture

History.com

Live Science

Peru for Less

Credits:

Created with images by LoggaWiggler - "machu picchu machupicchu ruins" • ShashiBellamkonda - "Machu Picchu Peru" • miltonhuallpa95 - "machu picchu peru beautiful" • LoggaWiggler - "machu picchu peru inca" • trevor_fenwick - "machu pichu peru pichu" • trophygeek - "Machu Picchu, Peru - Infrared" • ziggy10 - "peru inca trail" Paul Kane Photo - The Practice of Headbinding - Machu Picchu Sun Temple - Incan Religion - Norfolk Beachcomber - Flickr

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