The ruins of the lost city of Machu Picchu were discovered in 1911
by the Yale architect Hiram Bingham. This exciting discovery was
found at a height of 9060 feet on the Andean mountain top in Peru,
and believed to predate many of the buildings that date back to
the early 1400’s. This is undeniably one of the most impressive
sites in the world today.
Machu Picchu is built on the summit of the mountain and overlooks
the deep canyon of the Urubamba river, which is approximately 75
miles from the city of Cusco; which was capital of the Inca empire
from the 13th to the 16th century. The Inca empire stretched from
Colombia to Chile and was lush with tropical vegetation and an abundance
This Inca city covers about 5 square miles, and is a completely
self contained including agriculture terraces, livestock enclosures,
fresh water springs, baths, temples, storage rooms, and about 150
houses; all of which were carved and built out of the granite rock.
Many of the building blocks used weighed in excess of 50 tons, and
all fitted together without mortar far better than thought was possible
for the time, so much so it would be difficult to push a flat piece
of paper through the joins!
It is believed that this amazing city was of great astrological
importance, the intihuatana stone (which roughly translates as ‘tying
the sun’) has been shown to be a precise indicator of the
equinoxes (not to be confused with the solstices as some texts state).
On the 21st of March, and the 21st September at midday, the sun
stands on the apex of the pillar and does not cast any shadow, this
is when the Incans would hold certain ceremonies and try to halt
the suns northward progress in the sky. Shamanic folklore also suggests
that this stone is a gateway to allow psychic and spiritual vision,
as the Incan deities were reported to be linked to the stones fate,
so much so that when a psychic placed their forehead (third eye)
on the stone, the psychic and spiritual world would be shown to
them by the deities, and if an Incan intihuatana stone was destroyed,
the deities were also destroyed.
The Spaniards invaded many Incan cities during the Conquest, and
destroyed many of the cities they come across, but there have been
no records in Spanish citadels of this site ever being found or
taken, so unlike many of the Incan cities and temples, Machu Picchu
has never fallen into enemy hands, and never been tainted by other
cultures. However, Machu Picchu did indeed one day become deserted,
and there are a number of theories about this, from frequent rival
wars between Incan territories, to the people suffering from plagues
of syphilis, many also believe it may have been abandoned before
the Spanish Conquest, but with that theory, why run and hide from
somewhere that was already well hidden?
In 2001 leading archaeologists were concerned that Machu Picchu
is in danger of falling off of it’s mountain perch. Japanese
geologists first considered something may be wrong when it was found
that the earth beneath the city was moving, and that cracks had
started to appear in the solid granite work of the buildings. They
hypothesise that one day the ancient ruins will fall in a massive
landslide off the mountain. The question isn’t if, but indeed
when this will happen. It is a shame to think that a once beautiful
and magnificent thriving city with such a spiritual and mystical
atmosphere could one day be lost to us.
If you have an experience you would like to share on visiting
Machu Picchu; or even to discuss your thoughts on the ancient site,
then please add your comments in our forums about your experiences,
or pop along to our free chat rooms and let us know what Machu Picchu
means to you!