20 Machu Picchu Fun Facts You Need to Know
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20 Machu Picchu Fun Facts You Need to Know

5 min read

Mar 16, 2018

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By Saloni Gupta

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Last updated on November 23rd, 2020 at 04:33 pm

Ready to explore some fun facts about Machu Picchu? Let’s Go! Nestled between the Peruvian Andes and the Amazon Basin, is the mighty Machu Picchu. It’s dramatic setting not only flaunts its mysterious beauty but also keeps the legacy of the Incan civilization alive. Set high above sea level, Machu Picchu is a traveler’s dream destination. Tourists who take a trip to Machu Picchu say it was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

For those who haven’t acquired much Machu Picchu information, or simply want to learn some fun facts about Machu Picchu, this blog will help you better understand what makes this archaeological wonder so special. Find out who built Machu Picchu, when Machu Picchu was built, why Machu Picchu is so important, and more. You’ll realize why this ancient site continues to be the highlight of any Peruvian adventure. Read below to discover 20 Machu Picchu fun facts!

1. Where is Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is high in the cloud forest on the edge of the Peruvian Amazon. Its mountainous terrain is comfortably above the Urubamba River and is only about 50 miles northwest of Cusco – what was once the capital of the Inca Empire.

2. How high is Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is located more than 7,000 ft (2,430 meters) above sea level!

3. Is Machu Picchu a UNESCO World Heritage Site?

In 1983, Machu Picchu became a UNESCO World Heritage Site. And since 2007, Machu Picchu has been recognized as “One of the New Seven Wonders of the World.”

4. What does Machu Picchu mean?

Machu Picchu means “Old Peak” in the native Quechua language. The name is fitting because Machu Picchu is said to be built in the 14th century – sometime around 1450.

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5. How are the ruins scattered?

The ruins are spread across a 5-mile distance. More than 3,000 stone steps link its many different levels and there are about 150 buildings ranging from baths and houses to temples and sanctuaries!

6. There is more to Machu Picchu, underground!

Archeologists suggest that 60% of the construction was underground, indicated by deep building foundations and crushed rock for drainage.

7. The stones used for the city are heavy

The stones in the structures weighed approximately 50 pounds, and no wheels were used to transport these rocks up to the mountain!

8. Machu Picchu was one of Peru’s best-kept secrets

The site was once one of Peru’s best-kept secrets. It was only until 1911 when an American archaeologist named Hiram Bingham discovered Machu Picchu. Up until then, only people living in the region knew about Machu Picchu.

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9. Are there books about Machu Picchu?

After his discovery, Bingham wrote a book called “The Lost City of the Incas” based on his findings. His book was a hit and spread like wildfire across the world. In time, the beauty of Machu Picchu described by Bingham began to inspire travelers to explore the site via the famous Inca Trail.

10. There’s a special technique to its structure

The stone structures were built with a technique called Ashlar (stones that are cut to fit together without the help of mortar). The terraced fields and the irrigation system of the site are a true testimony to the Incan masons.

11. When was Machu Picchu built?

Many theories exist about the purpose of Machu Picchu. Some believe that Machu Picchu served as a royal estate for Incan emperors while others believe that it was a religious and sacred site. Other theories suggest it was an ancient trade center while others say it was used as a prison. Which theory do you believe?

12. There were farming zones at Machu Picchu

Next up on our list of Machu Picchu Facts is…Archaeologists suggest that the ruins comprise various sections such as a farming zone, a residential area, a royal district, and a sacred area.

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13. The Inca’s used a solar clock

The Temple of the Sun and the Intihuatana stone (a sculpted granite rock) functioned as a “solar clock” or calendar for the empire.

14. You can’t find your shadow here

During the two equinoxes, the sun stands directly above the Intihuatana stone, resulting in no shadow. The four sides of the Intihuatana stone represent the 4 directions (North, South, East, and West). It was used as a sundial or as an astrological stone back then.

15. Why did the Inca’s leave Machu Picchu?

The reason for the abandonment of Machu Picchu is still unknown, but the lack of water or an epidemic may have been key factors. However, there are no signs of intervention by the Spanish or German Empire.

16. Machu Picchu artifacts were collected

There was a long dispute between Yale and the Peruvian Government over the artifacts collected by Bingham during his expedition.

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17. Machu Picchu survived the Spanish conquest

Most cities built by the Inca civilization were destroyed by the Spanish conquest. Why did Machu Picchu survive? Because of its extraordinary height! The mighty mountain and its stone structures were invisible to the Spanish and hence not destroyed.

18. Machu Picchu survived an earthquake

Machu Picchu is an earthquake survivor! The architecture is so strong that it has survived numerous earthquakes ever since its creation. Peru is an earthquake-prone country.

19. 30% of Machu Picchu has been reconstructed

Over 30% of Machu Picchu has been reconstructed since its rediscovery. ** We didn’t even know this Machu Picchu Fact until we wrote this article.

20. There are still new discoveries to be found

There are many things still to discover! Due to the climatic and geographical conditions such as elevation, fog, and rain, not everything has been discovered. Watch out for a new discovery on your trip to Machu Picchu!

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Last updated on November 23rd, 2020 at 04:33 pm

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