Summary of the history of Machu Picchu
Archaeologists claim that this majestic Inca city was built during the fifteenth century of our era by the Incas, is the largest Inca city in Peru and the world which houses thousands of mysteries. It is also known that it was populated by a large number of inhabitants, people who were of the Inca royalty, priests and the “aqllas” (virgins of the sun). There was also a large population of peasants who worked the fields but did not live within the citadel.
The city is divided into 3 areas: 2 populated areas and the agricultural sector, which is a vast system of terraces and channels of irritation. The urban sector was divided in two districts, in one of them are the most important temples like the temple of the Sun, and the real chamber.
In the other neighborhood there are the houses of the nobles and the convent of the “virgins of the sun”. The city of Cuzco located in Peru offers tourist packages for the thousands of tourists who daily frequent this magical city. You can find tours to Cusco, Machu Picchu, Sacred Valley, Inca Trail, Puno (titi caca lake) among others. Between both neighborhoods there is a huge esplanade as a plaza. The surroundings are impressive, the citadel is built on the top of a hill surrounded by the huge Urubamba River and mountains around it, being in Machu Pichu is being on the mountain of the gods.
One of the greatest attractions of Machu Picchu is the level of technological development achieved by its builders in terms of architecture and stone work. The joints of the stones in some of the environments are so narrow that not even a pin could be inserted, it is simply a perfect city. The most significant stone is the “Intihuatana” or solar calendar, which allowed the Incas to know precisely the seasons and the weather throughout the year. However, many find in Machu Picchu more than history and ancient technologies, but also an energy and peace that surrounds all who come and visit such a mysterious place, being in this Inca city is surrounded by positive energy, which will feel it at every moment, even when you give your hand to someone, you will feel how energy travels throughout your being.
History of Machu Picchu. Complete article
The mountains of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu are part of the orographic formation known as Batolito in Vilcabamba which is located on the left bank of the Urubamba Canyon, which was known as the Picchu Gorge. The story tells that in the Picchu ravine inhabited mountain populations from the regions of Vilcabamba and the Sacred Valley.
In the period of the Middle Horizon there is a demographic explosion by groups not documented historically but possibly linked to the TAMPU ethnic group of Urubamba and it is believed that these people could be part of the Federation that were rivals of the first Incas of Cuzco.
Machu Picchu during the Inca period (1438-1534)
In 1440 when Machu Picchu was conquered by the Inca Pachacuteq the first Inca emperor, it was he who in 1450 ordered to build an urban complex with civil and religious buildings of great luxury as a refuge for the Inca royalty; the Inca aristocracy, a luxurious and well-kept mausoleum to receive the remains of the Pachacutec monarch. Nevertheless, some of its best constructions and the evident ceremonial character would demonstrate that this one was used like religious sanctuary.
The fortress was located on the eastern slope of the Urubamba rivera mountain range, a visit to the heart of the Inca Empire and the Andean and colonial culture. With the magnificent “Lost City of the Incas”, Machu Picchu is located about 80 km from the City of Cuzco, the capital of Tahuantinsuyo. Its strategic geographical situation was chosen with admirable success. Surrounded by deep cliffs and far from the sight of strangers by a tangled jungle, the citadel of Machu Picchu possessed the quality of having a single and narrow entrance, which allowed in case of a surprise attack, be defended by very few Inca warriors.
It is believed that the population in Machu Picchu was between 300 and 1000 inhabitants belonging to the panaca of Pachacuteq, it was an unknown place for the lower castes and their routes forbidden to anyone who was not part of the small circle of the Inca.
When dying Pachacuteq all his properties happened to be administered by his panaca and a new government of the Inca began Túpac Yupanqui (1470-1493) and Huayna Capac (1493-1529) and following.
History of Machu Picchu between the colony and the republic (XVII-XIX)
After the fall of Vilcabamba in the year of 1572, Machu Picchu remained within the jurisdiction of several colonial haciendas that changed owners during Republican times since 1821; It became a remote place away from the new roads and economic axes of Peru, being that only some descendants of the Incas knew the existence of this city.
Apparently the agricultural sector of Machu Picchu was uninhabited and therefore were land of interest for the people who made crops; but its urban sectors were not occupied by farmers but by the vegetation of a cloud forest, which turned the city into a city forgotten and lost in time.
In 1865 during the trips that made the naturalist Antonio Raymondi step at the foot of the ruins without realizing the great constructions that existed there. However, in 1867 Augusto Berns not only discovered the ruins but also founded a mining company “Compañía Anónima Explotadora de las Huacas del Inca” to exploit the treasures that were housed there.
Then between 1867 and 1870 during the government of José Balta, the company operated in the area and sold everything it found to Spanish and North American collectors. Thus, in 1870 Harry Singer placed for the first time a map with the location of Cerro Machu Picchu and called Huayna Picchu as “Punta Huaca del Inca”.
Then a second map was made in 1874 by the German Herman Gohring where he located and mentions both mountains at an exact cardinal point, until in 1880 Charles Wiener a French explorer confirms the existence of archaeological remains in the place and nullifies the possibility of call it “lost city”.
Rediscovery of Machu Picchu (1894-1911)
Agustín Lizárraga arrived at Machu Picchu on July 14, 1902, guiding the Cusqueños Gabino Sánchez, Enrique Palma and Justo Ochoa; who left their names inscribed in the Temple of the Three Windows. There are also other informative data where it is related that Agustín Lizárraga had visited Machu Picchu with Luis Béjar in 1894.
On July 24, 1911, the American Hiram Bingham arrived at Machu Picchu guided by Melchor Arteaga and a Civil Guard sergeant named Carrasco; during their journey they found two families that lived there: the Recharte and the Álvarez who used the platforms of the south to cultivate. And it’s Pablo Recharte one of the sons of the family who guides Bingham towards the urban area covered by weeds.
Bingham was impressed to see such a wonderful city and requested support from Yale University, National Geographic Society and the Peruvian Government to start the scientific study of the site, so with the engineer Ellwood Erdis, the osteologist George Eaton, Toribio Recharte and Anacleto Álvarez and other workers from the Bingham area perform archaeological work in Machu Picchu from 1912 to 1915.
History of Machu Picchu since 1915
Between 1924 and 1928 Martin Chambi and Juan Manuel Figueroa made a series of photographs in Machu Picchu which were published in different Peruvian magazines expressing a great local interest on the ruins, turning them into national symbol and pride.
- In 1981 Machu Picchu is established within the Protection Zones.
- In 1983 Machu Picchu is part of the World Heritage List.
- In 2007 Machu Picchu becomes part of the New 7 Wonders of the Modern World; where the Government declares every July 7 Day of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu today
t is the world’s cultural heritage, it has become an international tourist attraction which receives thousands of tourists a day, it is considered one of the wonders of the world, and it really is, on my first trip to Cuzco Peru and then to the town Aguas Calientes I felt lost in time, for the first time in my life away from the noise of the world, a magical place where I was with my beloved girlfriend and this wonderful city, so I invite you to visit Machu Picchu and be dazzled by its majestic beauty.