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Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu

During the 15th Century, the Inca Empire flourished. The Spanish eventually conquered the Inca’s in 1530. Inca leaders retreated to the city of Vilcabamba until their final defeat in 1572. The empire stretched from Argentina to southern Columbia. Called Tawantinsuyu “Land of Four Corners” the realm was built without the use of wheels or currency.

Remnants of the empire are mainly in the archaeological sites. Machu Picchu in Peru is the most famous.

Built in the Andes Mountains, in the Amazon Basin, it’s a breathtaking structure. Over 200 sections make up this ancient city. Irrigation canals, intricate roads and tiered agriculture terraces are part of an elaborate system. Archaeologists have struggled to find a purpose for all the bits.

Inca’s shared knowledge through oral retelling as there was no writing. Outsiders recorded the only history. UNESCO has suggested that the site was in use before the Inca Empire.

The stones used to build the city, are so well cut they fit together like a glove. Not only is this beautiful to look at, but it also has another purpose. The area is seismically unstable. During earth tremors the stones ‘dance’ together until they settle back into their allotted spaces.

Amazingly, early engineers built 60% of Machu Picchu underground. The foundations are deep and made from crushed stone. The excellent drainage is necessary for an area that receives a lot of rain.

The semicircular Temple of the Sun is a building constructed around a boulder. Rather cleverly, a window is in the perfect spot during the summer solstice. The sun beams through the opening and aligns with the rock and a mountain peak nearby.

There are still mysterious paths and trails that lead off into the surrounding cloud forest. The vegetation grows so fast, who knows what might still lie in the undergrowth waiting for discovery.