The citadel of Machu Picchu is considered the main tourist spot in Peru and one of the most visited worldwide. This marvel of Inca architecture is located in the department of Cusco to 2.360 meters of altitude, in the Valley of the Urubamba River. Currently, Machu Picchu holds the rank of being considered one of the 7 wonders of the world, a distinction that promotes increased tourism in the area. Tourists of all nationalities traveling to Peru with the intention of observing the Inca legacy and of course visit Machu Picchu, which is also known as the Lost City of the Incas.
Over the years there have been numerous investigations into the role of this citadel nestled in the mountains. One of the theories is argued that the citadel of Machu Picchu was a luxurious and well cared mausoleum of the Inca Pachacutec, the founder and first emperor of Tahuantinsuyo. Machu Picchu is a Quechua word that comes from Machu composed: that means old or ancient, and Picchu: meaning mountain; therefore, Machu Picchu is translated as Old Mountain. It is presumed that the citadel of Machu Picchu lived no more than 200 to 300 people but of a high social rank. Most of these people had some kind of kinship with the Inca; that is to say, were descendants of the founder of Tahuantinsuyo.
Machu Picchu was opened to the world since the advent of American professor and anthropologist Hiram Bingham, who promoted the site processing the auspices of Yale University, the National Geographic Society and the Peruvian government in order to start the study of the archaeological complex. However, we must stress that Hiram Bingham was not the discoverer of Machu Picchu, there were already some traces of people who lived in the place for years. The significance of the Citadel of Machu Picchu for the Tahuantinsuyo was very noticeable. An excellent urban planning interconnected with other surrounding places to Machu Picchu became a reference point. In agriculture the region was characterized by production of corn and potatoes.
How could it be otherwise, Machu Picchu formed the List of World Heritage of Unesco since 1983, as part of a cultural and ecological complex known as Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. Significantly, the citadel of Machu Picchu is not the only attraction in the area, there are other attractions nearby that are also worth visiting. Huayna Picchu and the Temple of the Moon are two clear examples of the great tourist potential of the area. If you want to know one of the most historic places in Peru, come to Cusco and Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu was opened to the world since the arrival of Professor and American anthropologist Hiram Bingham.
Generic composition of Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu has an area of approximately 20 hectares and is divided into two main sectors: the agricultural sector and the urban sector. Agricultural sector located in the southern area of Machu Picchu has an extensive network of platforms that played a vital role during Inca times. Currently, some of these platforms are covered by thick vegetation. Agricultural sector was intended for farmers in the area and you can see several buildings that were used for this purpose. The historian Hiram Bingham called them “Foreign Quarters” because from the top of these terraces could have a strategic view of the place so it also served a monitoring function.
The urban sector of Machu Picchu located in the northern area is characterized by its buildings and squares. The Intiwatana, the Temple of the Sun and the Room of the Three Windows are the most famous buildings. Intiwatana or sundial is located at the top of the Sacred Hill and had the function of measuring time by the effect of light and shadow. Also it acted as the altar stone. The Sun Temple is not in very good condition but still retains much of its original structure. Room of the Three Windows is a symbolic representation of Tamputocco. According to the legend of the Ayar brothers, these windows came the Incas day of creation.
The urban sector is divided into three zones: the Sacred District, the District of the Priests and the Nobility (residential area) and the popular neighborhood where lived the common people. Other attractions that make up the urban sector of Machu Picchu are The Liturgical Fountains, The Main Temple, Royal Mausoleum, the Palace of the Ñusta, Sacred Squared, The Dry Moat, prisons, Industrial Sector, The neighborhood of the three identical Covers, the Sacred Monolith and Lower Cemeteries and Superior. Machu Picchu is strategically divided which facilitates exploration despite the many tourists who visit daily. It is amazing how despite the irregular topography of the land, it was transformed into terraces with both urban and agricultural purposes. That is why the engineering and Inca architecture was considered one of the best of his time.