Machu Picchu, Peru

The City Lost in the Mystery of the Incas


A Lost and Found City
The most famous view of the city that the Incas will have abandoned at the time of the Hispanic conquest of the Inca Empire.
in quechua costumes
Peruvian visitor to Machu Picchu appreciates the surrounding Andean scenery in colorful traditional costumes.
Architecture & Nature
A tree sprouts from one of the terraces on which the Inca urbanism of the citadel, built in the XNUMXth century, is located.
local fauna
Lamas occupy a terrace on a slope opposite the main peaks of the Machu Picchu citadel.
inca ruins
Detail of one of the solid structures on which the city was based, made of carved stones and perfectly fitted together by the Inca workers.
Andean reading
Visitor reads with a view of one of the precipices that overlooks the citadel of Machu Picchu, which Hiram Bingham considered one of the best defended places by nature in that region of Peru.
Peruvian queue
Visitors climb one of Machu Picchu's long staircases, on their way to a high point in the ruins complex.
Peruvian fashion
Peruvian friends of Machu Picchu protect themselves from the sun under peculiar hats.
The Sacred Valley
Green scenery around the Urubamba River at the base of the mountains that welcomed the Inca city.
Type of housing ruins
Structures of old homes in Machu Picchu with small tufts of moisture in the background.
Camelid Contrast
Lamas can be seen on one of the terraces created at Machu Picchu by the city's Inca founders.
An Inca Avenue
A path bordering Machu Picchu, conquered the lush hillside and paved with carved stone
In rest
Visitors rest from the long, exhausting walks required by the visit of Machu Picchu
As we wander around Machu Picchu, we find meaning in the most accepted explanations for its foundation and abandonment. But whenever the complex is closed, the ruins are left to their enigmas.

In two days of gradual habituation to the altitude, the colonial grandeur of Cusco once again impressed us, but the first meters of the Santa Ana Railway clashed.

Instead of gliding dignified and fluid, the composition hiccuped. It would soon stop and reverse gears, something that was repeated a few more times.

The strange phenomenon that the residents and workers of PeruRail dubbed the “zigzag” allowed the convoy to conquer the steep slope on the outskirts of the city. And, shortly thereafter, face the descent to the sacred valley of the Urubamba River.

The Sacred Valley

Green scenery around the Urubamba River at the base of the mountains that welcomed the Inca city.

The Stunning Cinematic Approach of Werner Herzog

We had admired, for the first time, those lush stops, in the epic opening plans of “Aguirre, the Wrath of the Gods".

In the film, a detachment of soldiers and missionaries led by Gonçalo Pizarro, supported by native porters, mules and lamas snakes subsumed in the mist by treacherous tracks embedded in the slope above the furious bed of the Urubamba.

Camelid Contrast

Lamas can be seen on one of the terraces created at Machu Picchu by the city's Inca founders.

Shortly after, Pizarro surrendered to the difficulties of the land and decreed the division of the entourage. Part of the one that goes down the river finds itself in trouble in its rapids and eddies.

Inspired by the achievements of Hernán Cortéz, Don Lope de Aguirre (represented by the irascible Klaus Kinski, who would receive, as a cachet, a third of the budget for the feature film) soon snatched the group's leadership. Before long, he reveals his unhealthy obsession with El Dorado.

On the days when we were exploring the tropical zone of Ucayali, El Dorado was, for all passengers on board, another.

Andean reading

Visitor reads with a view of one of the precipices that overlooks the citadel of Machu Picchu, which Hiram Bingham considered one of the best defended places by nature in that region of Peru.

The Final Station of Aguas Calientes, at the Base of the Mysterious City of Machu Picchu

Every minute of the journey made it more real. The train travels the last few hundred meters between the dense jungle and the Urubamba. It drops us off at the Águas Calientes station, from where we'll continue by bus to the intermediate heights (2.430m) of the Andean mountain range.

We are just two out of several thousand visitors ascending that mountain with an old woman's face, the Inca meaning of the term Machu Picchu and – so many adepts defend – the subliminal look of the relief.

The natives of the area had known, for a long time, of the existence of the ruins.

There are those who say, by the way, that instead of being isolated and remote, the citadel was accessible by different paths that connected it to small indigenous family nuclei.

The European Explorers to Whom the Natives Revealed Machu Picchu

In addition to these, it is also possible that at least two British missionaries, a German engineer, a fellow countryman who, in 1860, had bought land in the vicinity, as well as three explorers from Cusco: Enrique Palma, Gabino Sánchez and Agustín Lizárraga, already knew the place.

Whether or not his credit will ever prove itself (and even those of many others) it was Hiram Bingham, a historian, professor, explorer, and later Hawaii-born American senator, who was most dedicated to studying Machu Picchu and released it to the world.

It was also Bingham who sparked the countless easy incursions that the old town now hosts, day after day.

in quechua costumes

Peruvian visitor to Machu Picchu appreciates the surrounding Andean scenery in colorful traditional costumes.

On July 24, 1911, Melchor Arteaga, an indigenous Bingham considered “much better than usual” saw the stranger wandering around the thatched hut he kept on his plantation in Mandor Pampa.

Arteaga sold grass, pasture and alcoholic beverages to anyone who passed by. Aware of the foreigner's probable interest in historical remains, eager to earn some extra money, he offered to show him some ruins he knew for a mere 50 cents a day.

Bingham immediately accepted the proposal. The next day, without major difficulties, he faced the abandoned city.

A Lost and Found City

The most famous view of the city that the Incas will have abandoned at the time of the Hispanic conquest of the Inca Empire

The find will certainly have delighted you. The explorer never had, however, the privilege of admiring it completely rebuilt, as we do in absolute amazement, after climbing to the hut of the Watchers of the Funerary Stone, where it is believed that the deceased Inca nobles were mummified.

From there, among llamas and haughty alpacas, we enjoy the classic and more comprehensive view of Machu Picchu.

local fauna

Lamas occupy a terrace on a slope opposite the main peaks of the Machu Picchu citadel.

Theories That Still Haven't Explained Machu Picchu

It is at that high point that we try to intuit the reason for being of such a majestic building. We know that the most popular thesis explains it, based on a 1438th century Hispanic document, as a mountain retreat of the Inca emperors Pachacutec Inca Yupanqui and Tupac Inca Yupanqui, living between 1493 and XNUMX.

It would have been built around 1450, at the height of the Inca Empire.

It was abandoned to its fate a century later, when the Spanish conquerors seized the indigenous territories, although it is believed that they never discovered the location of Machu Picchu.

An Inca Avenue

A path bordering Machu Picchu, conquered the lush hillside and paved with carved stone

At first, Bingham announced that it was Vilcabamba la Vieja, the last city from which the last Inca rulers resisted the Spanish conquest during the XNUMXth century.

Other archaeologists would later discover that this would have been, in fact, Espíritu Pampa, 130 km west of Cusco.

After a thorough study of the ruins, human bones and other elements, Bingham argued, then, that Machu Picchu had emerged as a kind of nursery of the “Inca Virgins of the Sun” a holy order of women dedicated to the god Inti. It would come, however, to prove that many of the bones were, after all, male.

An alternative theory by archaeologist and anthropologist Johan Reinhardt argues that the city's presence in such a remote place was due to the Incas considering the Urubamba River and the surrounding landscape to be sacred.

Architecture & Nature

A tree sprouts from one of the terraces on which the Inca urbanism of the citadel, built in the XNUMXth century, is located.

And because they found that sunrise and sunset, on the equinoxes and solstices, when viewed from certain points, lined up with the mountains of Machu Picchu.

Now, in the image of the river, the mountains had great religious significance for natives.

A Hasty and Failing Conquest of Pico Huayna Picchu

After passing through the doors of the Temple of the Sun, the Holy Square, the Temples of the Three Windows and the Main Temple, we investigated the House of the High Priest.

Then, we went up to the Intihuatana sanctuary, from where the Inca astronomers followed the “movements” of the sun, predicting the solstices and other key positions of the star.

We also decided to ascend to the peak of Huayna Picchu, from where a supreme view of the ruins and surrounding scenery was guaranteed.

Peruvian queue

Visitors climb one of Machu Picchu's long staircases, on their way to a high point in the ruins complex.

Even if the morphology of this sharp ridge frightens any casual mountaineer, we soon realized that the only serious problem we would face was having to conquer it against the clock because the authorities closed the trail long before the complex in general.

Okay, with our legs long overheated, we reached the summit in 45 minutes.

We dedicated 15 or 20 additional ones to recovering our violated breath, to contemplating the citadel at the irregular foothills and the successive slopes of the verdant mountain range where the Incas placed it.

Type of housing ruins

Structures of old homes in Machu Picchu with small tufts of moisture in the background.

It is after the time limit that we descend, at an obvious excess of speed, along the same path of Andean goats. Halfway through the route, we return to pass through a tight segment, kept in pure vertigo between a protruding rock wall and an abyss without an apparent end.

There, Sara lets herself be intimidated. Leaning too far against the cliff and tripping over a small slab detached from the ground. When he lands, he has his face on the threshold between life and death and contemplates the precipice above the sacred valley.

Fate or the Inca gods wanted the rest of his body to be supported by the meager surface of the walkway.

We don't even have time to recover from the scare.

Once our mind had been remedied and some small scratches had been blown, we continued the race course.

We are the last to catch the last bus but we still get off without falling towards the always furious Urubamba.

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Great Zimbabwe, Endless Mystery

Between the 1500th and XNUMXth centuries, Bantu peoples built what became the largest medieval city in sub-Saharan Africa. From XNUMX onwards, with the passage of the first Portuguese explorers arriving from Mozambique, the city was already in decline. Its ruins, which inspired the name of the present-day Zimbabwean nation, have many unanswered questions.  
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From Luxor to Thebes: Journey to Ancient Egypt

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The Most Caribbean of the Mayan Ruins

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Voyage to the Ancient Kingdom of Bisnaga

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Under the Moais Watchful Eye

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The Crooked Path to Angkor

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Yucatan, Mexico

The End of the End of the World

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hippopotami, chobe national park, botswana
Safari
Chobe NP, Botswana

Chobe: A River on the Border of Life with Death

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Aurora lights up the Pisang Valley, Nepal.
Annapurna (circuit)
Annapurna Circuit: 3rd- Upper Banana, Nepal

An Unexpected Snowy Aurora

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Architecture & Design
Castles and Fortresses

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Tibetan heights, altitude sickness, mountain prevent to treat, travel
Adventure

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Ceremonies and Festivities
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Cities
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Wilkommen in Africa

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Singapore Asian Capital Food, Basmati Bismi
Meal
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The Asian Food Capital

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Islamic silhouettes
Culture

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Sport
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extraterrestrial mural, Wycliffe Wells, Australia
Traveling
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Wycliffe Wells' Unsecret Files

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Conversation between photocopies, Inari, Babel Parliament of the Sami Lapland Nation, Finland
Ethnic
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The Babel Parliament of the Sami Nation

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Got2Globe Photo Portfolio
Got2Globe Portfolio

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History
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Heroina do Mar, from Noble People, Brave and Immortal City

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The Little-Big Senglea II
Islands
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An Overcrowded Malta

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Winter White
Inari, Finland

The Wackiest Race on the Top of the World

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Literature
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Joshua Tree National Park, California, United States,
Nature
PN Joshua Tree, California, United States

The Arms stretched out to Heaven of the PN Joshua Tree

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Mother Armenia Statue, Yerevan, Armenia
Autumn
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A Capital between East and West

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Gorongosa National Park, Mozambique, Wildlife, lions
Natural Parks
NP Gorongosa, Mozambique

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deep valley, terraced rice, batad, philippines
UNESCO World Heritage
Batad, Philippines

The Terraces that Sustain the Philippines

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Characters
Look-alikes, Actors and Extras

Make-believe stars

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Beaches
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Prayer flags in Ghyaru, Nepal
Religion
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The Toy Train story
On Rails
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The Himalayan Toy Train Still Running

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Society
Talkeetna, Alaska

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Visitors at Talisay Ruins, Negros Island, Philippines
Daily life
Talisay City, Philippines

Monument to a Luso-Philippine Love

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Amboseli National Park, Mount Kilimanjaro, Normatior Hill
Wildlife
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A Gift from the Kilimanjaro

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Napali Coast and Waimea Canyon, Kauai, Hawaii Wrinkles
Scenic Flights
napali coast, Hawaii

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