|A.K.A. "The Lost City of the Incas"|
There is uncertainty as to its place in Inca life. Current researchers think that it was a country resort for elite Incas - I like that idea!! At any given time, there were not more than 750 people living at Machu Picchu and far less during rainy season... The Incas started building it around 1430 AD but it was abandoned as an official sire for the Inca rulers a hundred years later at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Maybe they abandoned it because there was no time to play or to protect it???
One thing that is clear is that it was remarkably well hidden, and well protected. Located far up in the mountains of Peru, visitors had to travel up long valleys littered with Inca check points and watch towers. The Spanish simply missed the site.
The site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Since it was not plundered by the Spanish when they conquered the Incas, it is especially important as a cultural site and is considered a sacred place.
Although many people are said to have knowledge of the ancient city as it was referred to in some text found in the 20th century, it was not until Hiram Bingham that Machu Picchu was scientifically discovered in 1911 (he was looking for a different site, sponsored by Yale University). In September 2007, Peru and Yale University reached an agreement regarding the return of artifacts, which Bingham had stolen from Machu Picchu.
Here are some beautiful shots I found on www.machupicchuluxury.com. Placeholders until I can share shots I personally bring back...
|House with a view!!!!|
|Llamas - yep, it had to be a resort town...|
There is a quote from an Inca sacrificial victim that reads, "Finish with me now because the celebrations they held for me in Cuzco were enough." It was recorded by the Spanish in the late 1500's. - Source: iTeach - Must of been some party right?!? :-)