Built by the Inca people at an elevation of 9,000 feet, Machu Picchu is a complex of palaces, temples and numerous dwellings in Peru. It has been declared as Peruvian Historical Sanctuary and also listed as UNESCO World Heritage site. Historians believe it to be a sacred religious site because of its extraordinary and unique architecture and geographical location. It was constructed in the fifteenth century by the Incas (the ancient people of South America) as a place of worship and pilgrimage.

machu picchu in peru
Image © Martin St-Amant

Incas deserted this place after about one hundred years after the Spanish conquest. The site remained in oblivion until an American historian, Hiram Bingham, brought it to the world’s attention in 1911. Since its discovery, Machu Picchu has become a main source of revenue for the government of Peru as it attracts hundreds of thousands of visitors annually. It is a real wonder how Incas constructed it. They used the technique of Ishar (technique of joining huge stone blocks). Originally, the whole area was divided into two main portions: urban and agricultural one. The design of Inca walls were designed in a tremendous engineering style to helped them protect against the natural disasters like earthquake. Doors and windows are trapezoidal and tilting inward from bottom to top; corners usually are rounded; inside corners often incline slightly into the rooms; and “L”-shaped blocks were used to tie outside corners of the structure together. These walls do not rise straight from bottom to top but are offset slightly from row to row.

Presently a lot of commercial and business activities are going on in the surroundings of Machu Picchu for which the local population of Peru and the world archeologists have great concerns. The word Machu Picchu means ‘old peaks’.

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