Visiting the Beauty of Machu Picchu

Enjoy travel and mystery? Why not combine the two by visiting Machu Picchu? As one of the most popular sites for tourists in Peru, this ancient Inca site offers breathtaking scenery, marvelous architecture and intriguing question marks.

Surrounded by high mountains and misty clouds, Machu Picchu is an ancient Inca site in Peru that lures visitors from all over the world with its exceptionally well preserved architecture and many unanswered mysteries. What was its purpose? What happened to its residents? How could such an extraordinary city be constructed so high up in the mountains? Though Machu Picchu presents more questions than answers, check out its fascinating features.

Believed by many to have been a totally self-sufficient city, Machu Picchu houses many unspoiled structures including temples, water fountains, baths, palaces and more than 150 residential houses. The site is also noted for its amazing stairway of 100 steps, all of which are constructed from one enormous rock of granite. The ruins also give evidence of farm terraces and an advanced irrigation system that supplied spring water to each of the houses.

Machu Picchu appears to have been constructed much like the Egyptian pyramids, by transporting enormous stone blocks up steep hills and over long distances. Many of these stones weigh approximately 50 tons.

One of Machu Picchus most intriguing elements is its Intihuatana stone. A ritual structure designed to coincide with the annual solstices and equinoxes like many others of its kind in South America, the Intihuatana stone shines significantly different. Because of its complete condition, the ceremonial stone provides confirmation to historians and researchers that Machu Picchu was never discovered by Spanish explorers since all other such edifices were usually defiled or destroyed by the Spanish.

Translated as hitching post of the sun, the Intihuatana stone presents another interesting feature. Situated in a precise location, the sun actually appears to be sitting on the stone during the spring and autumn equinoxes as if it was indeed hitched to it.

Theories about Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is believed to have been built around 1450 AD. Although the locals knew of its existence, the site was made world known in 1911 when Hiram Bingham, an American explorer, discovered it. After finding the remains of more than 100 human skeletons at the site, Bingham believed many of them were female and speculated that Machu Picchu might have been used as either a sort of harem or convent in which women were kept to serve the Inca leader.

Following the many years after Binghams discovery, many archaeologists and historians have theorized that Machu Picchu was initially constructed as a military fortress. Others believe it was used as a royal estate. It is also estimated that approximately 1,000 people resided in the ancient city and may have all died from small pox within a period of 100 years following its construction.

There are only two ways to reach Machu Picchu. One is by hiking, which can take days. The other way is to take the four hour train tour from Cusco. The train offers visitors food as well as stunning views of Perus amazing landscapes.