Top 10 Fun Facts About Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is a popular tourist site in South America. It stands out for its location and the nature surrounding it, which make the citadel beautiful to many. It is located in a cloud forest in the Andes Mountains in Peru.

The citadel comprises a unique kind of architecture that the Incas, who lived there, designed. To top off its beauty, the area is dominated by many llamas and alpacas that many visitors often admire.

Machu Picchu is not only a site that is considered to be beautiful by many, but also a place of mystery. Since Hiram Bingham III publicized Machu Picchu's existence to the world, there have been many studies and visits to the citadel.

Considering the citadel was built during the rule of the Inca Empire, alongside a plausibly noticeable theme within the buildings and its placement, many believe that it had a connection to the purpose of the citadel.

Because of all this, including the Incas having a unique way of life, which includes their communication and methods of construction, Machu Picchu has for a long time remained a site of beauty and wonder to many people.

So, get ready for some fun facts about this unique and mysterious site in Peru.
The Top Ten
1 Why Machu Picchu was built remains unknown

What Machu Picchu was built for remains unknown, because there were no written records from the Incas. This was because the Incas did not have a system that involved writing, such as having a written language. Instead, they communicated via Quipus, a series of knots and ropes, and their spoken language, Quechua. However, historians and archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as a royal estate for Inca Emperor Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui. Others believe that the city was built as a holy city for religious Incas to worship Inca deities, like the Sun or Inti, due to the presence of temples within the city. The buildings came with windows, plausibly so Incas could observe astronomical events that were significant to them. One of the other common beliefs about why this city was built was for agricultural purposes. The Incas were expert agriculturalists who grew crops from terraced farming to feed people in their community.

2 Llamas are not native to Machu Picchu

Despite llamas being a popular aspect for tourists who visit Machu Picchu, llamas are not native to the area. Llamas were brought to Machu Picchu from other parts of the Andean region by the Incas for various reasons, like transporting goods and materials. So, while llamas are native to the Andean region, they are not native specifically to the Machu Picchu area as they prefer altitudes up to 13,000 feet above sea level or higher. In spite of that, today, llamas are one of the dominant non-native animals in the Machu Picchu area and are a popular aspect for tourists who visit and want to see Machu Picchu, having been brought by the Incas centuries ago. The same can be said for alpacas. While they are popular animals in the area, they too are not native to the area and were brought to Machu Picchu by the Incas.

3 Machu Picchu was built to resist earthquakes

Because Machu Picchu was built close to two fault lines, the Incas knew of this and knew they had to use various methods to make Machu Picchu earthquake-proof. One of the methods they used was the ashlar technique, which comprised the cutting of rocks precise enough that there was remotely no space between the rocks when placed on top of each other. Not even a piece of paper could fit between the rocks. Other methods included making trapezoid-shaped doors and windows and walls that inclined inward.

4 Machu Picchu was never a truly "lost" city

Although explorer Hiram Bingham publicized Machu Picchu's existence, even before he arrived in 1911, Machu Picchu was not truly a lost place. Initially, Hiram Bingham intended to look for the last Inca village used for the protection of refugees from the Spanish conquest, known as Vilcabamba. During his journey through the Sacred Valley, he asked locals about any nearby ruins they knew of. This was until one of the locals, known as Melchor Artega, communicated in his native language to Bingham and led him to the city of Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu still had inhabitants in the city despite being forgotten after the Spanish Conquests by the outside world before Bingham's arrival. But overall, Bingham's arrival played a significant role in sparking studies and visits to Machu Picchu.

5 Machu Picchu had an advanced water system

During their time, the Incas had a considerably advanced water system. Other than the reliance on rain, the Incas needed a way to supply water to their community. Thus, they built underground canals to channel water and direct them to fountains for consumption and ceremonial purposes, and built drains for flood control. Water was also a necessity for the Incas as they needed it to grow their crops to feed people in their community.

6 Machu Picchu was spared from Spanish conquest

Many of the Inca sites, including Ollantaytambo, were destroyed during Spanish conquests. However, because the Incas built Machu Picchu in a secluded location, the citadel was spared from being destroyed by the Spaniards. However, despite that, the citadel was eventually abandoned by the locals for reasons unknown today.

7 It is estimated that Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century

As mentioned, there were no written records, thus, there is no definite answer as to when Machu Picchu was built. However, scholars estimate that Machu Picchu was built around 1450 AD during Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui's reign of the Inca Empire, which lasted from 1438 until 1471.

8 The English meaning of "Machu Picchu" is "old mountain"

Many people in the Andean region, despite the Spanish language being introduced in the 16th century, speak a native language called Quechua. Quechua is used to name this citadel. As in Quechua, "Machu" means "old" or "old person," while "Picchu" in English is "Mountain."

9 Machu Picchu airspace is restricted

Helicopter tours were once permitted in the Machu Picchu area until 2010. Due to the noise pollution helicopters produce, the Cusco Province banned helicopters from flying over the Machu Picchu area to protect the indigenous life that inhabited the area.

10 It is estimated that nearly 1,000 people lived in Machu Picchu

While it is unknown what the exact number of people who resided in the Machu Picchu citadel is, it is estimated that between 300 to 1,000 people resided in the citadel in the 15th century.

The Contenders
11 The Incas didn't use any mortar in the construction of the Machu Picchu
12 Scholars aren't completely sure what the Incas used Machu Picchu for
BAdd New Item