Machu Picchu, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.

Machu Picchu (from the terms quechua machu – which means “old” – and pikchu, translatable with “top” or “mountain”) is an Inca archaeological site located in Peru, in the Urubamba valley.

View in the collective imagination as the remains of an ancient and fascinating lost city, the place is now universally known for its impressive and original ruins, both for the impressive view that you have on the valley below Urubamba about 400 meters lower. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, elected in 2007 as one of the Seven Wonders of the Modern World. It is the third largest archaeological site in the world after the excavations of Pompeii. The city was supposed to have been built by the Inca Pachacútec emperor around the year 1440 and remained inhabited until the Spanish conquest of 1532. The position of the city was a well-guarded military secret, as the deep ravines that surrounded it were the its best natural defense. In fact, once abandoned, its location remained unknown for four centuries, entering the legend. Archaeological discoveries, combined with recent studies on colonial documents, show that it was not a normal city, but rather a sort of summer residence for the Inca emperor and nobility. It has been calculated that no more than 750 people could stay at Machu Picchu at a time and probably during the rainy season or when there were no nobles, the number was even smaller. 

The site consists of over 200 buildings, including houses, temples and public buildings. These are connected by 109 steps and flanked by numerous terraces were predominantly agricultural. The buildings we see today are only part of the story. Machu Picchu is bigger than it seems. It is still incomplete: no evidence of work in progress, particularly in the quarry and the Temple of the Three Windows, where a large stone is placed as if still in progress. The place seems to have been abandoned before completion, after about 90 years, but no sign of violence, fire, epidemics or drought to explain why. Many theories have been published, but no one has been supported for lack of convincing evidence.

Machu Picchu, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.

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Machu Picchu, definition and study. A-Z index of Cognitio.

Machu Picchu