Free Essay

Machu Picchu

In: Historical Events

Submitted By nichs
Words 485
Pages 2
Machu Picchu is tangible evidence of the urban Inca Empire at the peak of its power and achievement—a citadel of cut stone fit together without mortar so tightly that its cracks still can’t be penetrated by a knife blade.

The complex of palaces and plazas, temples and homes may have been built as a ceremonial site, a military stronghold, or a retreat for ruling elites—its dramatic location is certainly well suited for any of those purposes. The ruins lie on a high ridge, surrounded on three sides by the windy, turbulent Urubamba River some 2,000 feet (610 meters) below.

Scholars are still striving to uncover clues to the mysteries hidden here high in the eastern slopes of the Andes, covered with tropical forests of the upper Amazon Basin. Machu Picchu appears to lie at the center of a network of related sites and trails—and many landmarks both man-made and mountainous appear to align with astronomical events like the solstice sunset. The Inca had no written language, so they left no record of why they built the site or how they used it before it was abandoned in the early 16th century.

Landscape engineering skills are in strong evidence at Machu Picchu. The site’s buildings, walls, terraces, and ramps reclaim the steep mountainous terrain and make the city blend naturally into the rock escarpments on which it is situated. The 700-plus terraces preserved soil, promoted agriculture, and served as part of an extensive water-distribution system that conserved water and limited erosion on the steep slopes.

The Inca’s achievements and skills are all the more impressive in light of the knowledge they lacked. When Machu Picchu was built some 500 years ago the Inca had no iron, no steel, and no wheels. Their tremendous effort apparently benefited relatively few people—some experts maintain that fewer than a thousand individuals lived here.

In 1911 a Peruvian guide led Yale professor Hiram Bingham up a steep mountainside and into the history books as the first Western scholar to lay eyes on the “lost city” of Machu Picchu. While indigenous peoples knew of the site, Peru’s Spanish conquerors never did—a fact which aided Machu Picchu’s isolation, and preservation, over the centuries.

Today Machu Picchu is far from isolated. In fact it’s a must-see for any visitor to Peru and the draw that compels many to travel to that nation. Machu Picchu’s management challenge is preservation of the site while making it accessible to all those who hope to experience an incredible part of Inca history.

How to Get There

On his first trip to the site Hiram Bingham walked for six days. Today many choose to follow in his footsteps by hiking to the ruins on the legendary Inca Trail. It’s an experience like no other, but one no longer necessary. Train trips from Cusco take only a few hours.

Similar Documents

Premium Essay

Machu Picchu

...Machu Picchu stands 2,430 m above sea-level, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, in an extraordinarily beautiful setting. It was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height; its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments. The natural setting, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, encompasses the upper Amazon basin with its rich diversity of flora and fauna. Machu Picchu bears, with Cuzco and the other archaeological sites of the valley of the Urubamba (Ollantautaybo, Runcuracay, Sayacmarca, Phuyupamarca, Huiñay Huayna, Intipucu, etc.) a unique testimony to the Inca civilization. Cuzco and the old villages still retain traces of land occupation from the Inca Empire to preserve, in a more global manner, an archaeological heritage which has become susceptible to the effects of urbanization. Furthermore, Macchu Picchu is an outstanding example of man's interaction with his natural environment. Standing 2,430 m above sea level, in the midst of a tropical mountain forest in an extraordinarily beautiful setting, Machu Picchu was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height. Its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments. The natural setting, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, encompasses the upper Amazon basin with its rich diversity of flora and fauna. Machu Picchu covers 32,500 ha in......

Words: 1036 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Machu Picchu

...Machu Picchu the world greatest archaeological wonders. The mysteries of Machu Picchu has not been discovered yet. There are many explorers that try to but never finish the quest. Each year, thousands of visitors come to look and wonder. The significance of visiting Machu Picchu are the archaeological wonders, endangered species, and the historical creation of the Inca Empire. The significance of visiting Machu Picchu is the archaeological wonders. According to source two it states,” The construction of this amazing city, set out according to very rigorous plan, comprises one of the most spectacular creations of the Inca Empire.” The construction makes Machu Picchu a world renowned archaeological site. Also the construction makes...

Words: 390 - Pages: 2

Premium Essay


...How can one World Heritage Site outside the UK be managed sustainably? This assignment will explain how the World Heritage Site in Machu Picchu can be managed sustainably. Tourism can have an impact on its surrounding environment. At the current moment Machu Picchu only permits 2500 tourists per day as a way of managing Machu Picchu sustainably. Machu Picchu in located in Peru and is located next to Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Bolivia. This map shows Peru and its cities and within the map Machu Pichhu, figure1 shows where Machu Picchu is. Figure 1 Mach Picchu was built more than 5,000 years ago and it is believed to be the last city of the Incas, Machu Picchu itself was built by the Inca people. Machu Pichhu has become an important part of Peru and its people as it is Peru`s main attraction. Tourists are fascinated by the fact Machu Picchu was built over 5,000 years ago and the Inca people went up 8000ft to build this historical site by hand. Machu Picchu is a unique testimony to the Inca civilization. Figure2 shows the layout of Machu Picchu. Figure Machu picchu is not only ackowldeged for its extravagant site but also well-known for its wildlife. At the present moment the management of Machu Picchu bans helicopters as an attempt to protect wild life. Figure 3 Figure4 shows one of the animals in danger of being......

Words: 1027 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Ecotourism in Macchu Picchu

...Tourism in Machu Picchu Tourism in Machu Picchu Machu Picchu - the lost city of the Incas |   Physical Attractions | Human attractions | •  The Inca Trail has ten different climatic zones and sub-zones, from deserts to tropical Andean cloud forest; home to exotic plants and animal life. The trail is covered with over 400 varieties of orchids, begonias, trees, and bushes as well as a varied collection of fauna including the condor, pumas and miniature deer.• Stunning scenery with the snowy peaks of the Andes (over 6,000 metres),  fast flowing rivers and deep valleys.  | Inca Trail | | • Machu Picchu, the 'Lost City of the Incas' is the best-known and most spectacular site in South America. Machu Picchu are quechua (indigenous Indian) words that mean "old" and "mountain".•  Hiking the "Inca Trail". This was the Royal Highway that led pilgrims and officials of the Empire to the Sacred City of the Incas. The Trail is paved with blocks of stone, It has stone stairways, tunnels and wooden bridges. The trek is 32 kilometres long starting at kilometre 88 of the railway and ending at the Holy City.• The nearby town of Aguas Calientes has thermal (hot water) baths.• Pisac is the main craftwork centre on the high plains. The main square is small, with a colourful market on Sunday mornings.• Rafting trips can be taken down the Urubamba River | Pisac market | | | | | For Management Plans * Alternative Inca Trails are gaining popularity with travellers...

Words: 1874 - Pages: 8

Premium Essay


...Society: The Inca people were separated into different social roles. The “Inca” were actually the highest members of society (the king to the nobles); anyone lower was not considered “Inca”. After the fall of the Inca Empire people started to refer to all the citizens of the Inca Empire as the Incas. * The king was called “Sapa Inca”, and he was at the top of the social hierarchy. A third of the total resources the people produced went to the king and the rest of the government. * Below the king was the high priest, or the “Villac Umu”, and spoke to Inti directly. * The royal family, or the direct relatives to the king. * The nobility- people directly related to the direct relatives of the royal family. There were also nobles who became nobles by becoming extremely educated and trained to do so, but were still considered to be lower than your generic run-of-the-mill nobility. * Public administrators consisted of tax collectors, record keepers, and leaders of the conquered tribes, the Curacas * There were the common folk, artisans and farmers, who were the lowest on the social pyramid of the Incas. There were also groups called, “Allyu”, which everybody was apart of, and was the basic unit of society. GEOGRAPHY They were installed in South America, Cuzco was the capital in the southern Peru. They built an empire that stretched from Ecuador (in the north) to Chile (in the south) and it was the largest empire ever seen in the Americas. The......

Words: 649 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Classical Order

...20th Century Design 1. Examples of megalithic and geoglyphic sites from around the world. * Machu Picchu A city built in 15th century on top of a mountain in southern Peru for the Inca civilization. URL * Matt, N 2008, Top ten historical sites in the world, Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site, viewed 6 September 2012, * Machu Picchu Facts 2008,, viewed 7 September 2012, * Jarus, O 2012, Machu Picchu: Facts & History, Live Science, viewed 7 September 2012, * Tikal It is located in Guatemala and was an important city of the Maya inhabited in the 900 – 300 BC. Tikal comprises of 5 step pyramids, a paved plaza and 3 acropolises holding tomb chambers. URL * Gill, N.S 2012, Tikal,, viewed 7 September 2012, * Villatoro, M.K 2011, 7 Facts about Tikal, Travel Experta – Central America Travel Expert, viewed 7 September 2012, * Matt, N 2008, Top ten historical sites in the world, Nomadic Matt’s Travel Site, viewed 6 September 2012, * Moai Statues About 887 Moai statues carved from the hard stone of the Rano Raraku volcano between the years......

Words: 1181 - Pages: 5

Premium Essay

Google as a Research Tool

...The internet and Google in particular are extremely powerful research tools, both flooded with information good and bad, and available to any researcher anywhere in the world. In my search for information on Inca architecture, even some of the smallest changes to how I searched made a big difference in the quality of information in my results. My first test was a basic search on Google's homepage for “Inca Architecture”. As one might expect, the number one result for my query was wikipedia. A site that is extremely useful to the everyday person, but somewhat controversial when being utilized for school research. Following wikipedia seemed to be a number of homemade websites with brief descriptions of Inca architecture containing somewhat sketchy citations, if any. There were about 4 or 5 of these sites and they all seemed to be somewhat novice summaries of books about the Incas. I then changed the “c” in Inca to a “k” to see if that would improve my results at all. Doing so only seemed to alter a few of the results on the first page of google, which were now pointing to photo galleries of Inka architecture. Disappointed in my results, I then headed over to Google scholar to try my luck. I searched “Inca Architecture” and was again disappointed when I saw a bunch of weird results that said [CITATION] next to them and no apparent links to anywhere. Beneath those results were a couple of articles titled “INCA: an agent-based network control architecture” which seemed to be......

Words: 561 - Pages: 3

Premium Essay

Coffee Suply and Demand

...Matthew Giebel ECO-102-AC01 M,W,F 11-11:50 a.m. The documentary “Cappuccino Trail – Tales from Global Economy in a Cup” is an example of supply and demand. The demand for coffee today is huge. So huge that it is second only to oil as the most globally traded commodity on the market. A chain like Starbucks sells to about 14 million customers a day for cups that are 99% water making for a 2000% mark-up. This being said the locations with the perfect climate and elevation are limited. The “coffee belt” as it is called is 15-16,000 feet above sea level with plenty of sun and rain providing for over 200 brands. The people who live in these conditions have embraced the opportunity to farm the land as much as possible to make a descent living in a place that would otherwise have little option. When the supply of coffee is abundant all is well. However if too much coffee is available the shelf price stays the same but the farmers have to sell for much less. When this happened in Brazil they opted to fix the saturation of supply by burning a bunch of beans. On the other hand when there is a cut in supply from a natural disaster, like the one that happened in Peru from the effects of El Nino that wiped out a train that carried the supply the market price shot up. Sometimes the market will go up just because a renowned analyst scouting the commodities market gives a positive projection, as was the case in 1997 the cost went from $1.20 to $3.18. This makes the producers very happy......

Words: 452 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

Inca Essay

...Five characteristics defined the physical environment of the Inca Empire; high elevation, low temperature, low precipitation, steep mountains and poor vegetation. All of these characteristics influenced how the Incas lived in every way: what they ate, how they managed food and living conditions, and ways of surviving. The Incas developed methods and systems like the Chaquis system, which helped with communication, and system of warehouses and granaries to evenly distribute food throughout the empire. The Inca Empire was located at very high altitude on the Andes Mountains. As a result of this high altitude, the level of oxygen and the temperature was very low. Vegetation was scarce and the trees very short because of the cold and the low level of oxygen. At the level of Tierra Templada, which included many small trees and shrubs, the temperature was cold. There was also very little rain in the Inca Empire; less than 2 inches of rain a year; the land was as almost as dry as any desert. The mountains were very steep and hard to climb up and down. The only crop they could plant on these conditions was the potato. The potato was a very important staple food for the Incas. Along with the potatoes, the Incas ate cuy, which was guinea pig meat. Since the mountains were very steep, there wasn’t much flat land to grow potatoes. So, the Incas created a method of terrace farming where they would make large steps to grow food on. The Incas also built roads out of stone to be able to......

Words: 906 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

A Visit to Cuzco

...I am now in Lima and staying at Monica's family home. Monica has been very kind to me and has really looked after me very well. She has given me a phone and rings me on it to check up on me! I think she is worried that I cant speak much spanish! I am treated like a king and Monica's mother Elsa has moved out of her bedroom to allow me to stay there while she sleeps in a small spare room! I protested about this but to no avail - so kind! Monica has shown me around the lovely parts of Lima, Barranco and Miraflores are the cafe areas and have a lot of character. It is nice to be in Lima after a week or so at very high altitude where the air is very thin and breathing is much harder - so to come down to sea level is some relief! Lima is a very big bustling city of 12 million people. It has had huge growth even in the past 2 years with more and more people moving from the mountains. Once deserted mountain sides are now quickly being developed or taken over by squatter settlements. A growing middle class has cause properties to double in value in a very short time. Yesterday we walked around the trendy cafe beach district called Miraflores. The traffic is a bit crazy and there is lots of tooting! Lima has a beautiful surf coast and has parks and gardens that have a beautiful view out to the sea from a high elevation you can see very far out to sea. At this time of year it is winter which is pretty cold but more significantly very humid so it feels a lot colder...

Words: 661 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

Google Earth

...I choose to look up Machu Pichu on Google Earth. The elevation is at about 8000 ft, although it is hard to give an accurate number to the foot, because Machu Pichu is on the hillside of a mountain. The first thing you notice when looking at Machu Pichu ion google earth is that it is on an insanely steep hillside. It is at the very top of a hill, and there are two valleys on either side, one has a lake in it and the other seems to have a stream or river running through it. This site is supposed to be more religious and not an hugely populated city like Cusco is, but you can tell why this location might have been picked. It is easily defendable due to its placement on higher ground and has sources of water on either side. It looks like it has quite a good potential for agriculture that can grow at very high elevations. The area around Machu Pichu looks very lush and green and there seem to be some fields there already. Obviously there might be problems with getting their water sources up to that elevation, since it is so much higher than moth the lake and the river. Machu Pichu looks to be a very isolated location, there is almost nothing to be seen in the mountains around it that look like civilization. There is one long, steep road that razorbacks up the hill to get to Machu Pichu, but it would be a very long and tedious ride to get there using a car, so I can only imagine what it would have been like for travelers to reach the area when they had to travel by foot. This...

Words: 328 - Pages: 2

Free Essay

American Empire

...their sacrifices other than the Spanish reports. 3. A way you can tell that the person who drew the picture had never been the Americas is because the Aztecs did not have buildings that had characteristics of roman buildings! 15.3 1. One technological achievement is they had to have drainage systems for high altitude and it being in the mountains they were bound to get some wet weather! Also since it was on such a rocky mountain they probably had to be able to make a stable foundation! They may not have had any fancy weapons or armor but they sure could build! 2. I think that it’s placement is symbolic because the Inca’s were a powerful empire that having such a high leading city would be like them watching over their empire. 3. Machu Picchu’s isolation contributed to its longevity...

Words: 582 - Pages: 3

Free Essay

All About General Knowledge

...Top Most World Heritage Sites Given below are the top most world heritage sites out of all the world's heritage sites according to the Global Heritage's "Saving Our Vanishing Heritage" report: 1. The Great Wall of China •Length: 5500.3 mile •Total site visitors of 24,200,000 •Total revenues of $2,888,000,000 •Major portion of the Great Wall of China was built by the Ming Dynasty •Begins at Shanhaiguan in the East and stretches till Lop Nur in the West and consists of many walls •Construction of these numerous walls started from the 5th century BC and many were re-built between the 5th and 16th century AD 2. Forbidden City in Beijing •World's largest surviving palace complex. •It is the Mausoleum of the First Qin Emperor •Total site visitors of 18,000,000 •Total revenues of $1,920,000,000 •During the period 1420 to 1912, the sprawling palace complex changed hands from the Ming dynasty that ruled from 1368 to 1644 to the Qing dynasty that ruled from 1644 to 1911 3. Great Pyramids of Giza •On the outskirts of Cairo. •Historic Cairo has total site visitors of 4,000,000 •Total revenues of $576,000,000 •Of the three pyramids in the Giza Necropolis, the Pyramid of Khufu (also known as the Pyramid of Cheops) is the oldest and also the largest. It held the record as the tallest building in the world for 3800 years. 4. Celsus Library •Built in AD 135 in the ruins of ancient Ephesus near Selcuk, 70 km (43 miles) from the western Turkish coastal city of Izmir...

Words: 926 - Pages: 4

Premium Essay

The Importance Of Travel

...mind to new people, new culture, new foods, and so much more. Thailand has been a dream of mine for many years, its vast mix of things to do and new experiences to be had make it highly appealing in my eyes. One thing that I think would be amazing to experience in Thailand is the wildlife; wild monkeys, elephants, sea turtles, and so much more. Thailand also offers such a rich culture. I think it would be amazing to learn more about the culture as well as see various temples and monuments. Lastly, to be able to see some of the breathtaking beaches, in person, would be amazing. One of my favorite hobbies is hiking and that is the main reason Peru is on my travel bucket list. Doing the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is one thing I would love to experience in life. Apart from Machu Picchu, Peru also has other treks to offer. Two other ones I’d love to do are the Santa Cruz trek and Choquequirao trek. Despite mainly going for the hiking, I’d also love to visit the beaches in Peru as well. Costa Rica is on my travel bucket list for many reason, that are almost a combination of the previous two destinations. One reason I want to visit Costa Rica is for hiking. With volcanos and vast rainforests, hiking/trekking in Costa Rica I can only imagine would be unlike many other places the world has to offer. Like Thailand, Costa Rica also sparks interest for me due to its wildlife, namely the sloth. Lastly, Costa Rica is on my bucket list for its beaches. Growing up one of my favorite......

Words: 761 - Pages: 4

Free Essay

Peru Graduation Project

...Peru, officially the Republic of Peru is a country located on the western side of South America, whose territory borders the Pacific Ocean to the west and bounded on the north with Ecuador, northeastern Colombia, on the east by Brazil, on the southeast by Bolivia and southern Chile. It has a complex geography is dominated by the elevations of the Andes and the Pacific currents, which makes the climates and landscapes as widely varied as the desert coast, the highlands of the high Andes and the rainforest of the Amazon basin, all environments that shape the country as a land of great variety of natural resources. The heterogeneity of geographic and climatic rigors of the country led to the first settlers early Peruvians to the twelfth millennium B.C. to adapt by developing one of the widest range of cultural traditions, as the oldest civilization of Caral that five thousand years ago, around the production cycles of each region, many of which resulted in a regional theocratic states. In early second century B.C., states began to be played, by periods, control of the peoples of the Andes. By the sixteenth century, the later and vast domain of these states, the Inca Empire was annexed by the Spanish conquerors with the support of dissident ethnic groups to Inca. The Spanish crown had established a viceroyalty that included most of its South American colonies. In 1821 the country became independent, basing a state that was immersed in internal and external conflict periods......

Words: 1852 - Pages: 8