Machu Picchu was discovered over a century a go, but historians and archaeologists are yet to decipher its ancient mysteries and ascertain its exact purpose. Read our guide for more facts and information…
The Incas have not left any written records as they did not have a system of writing, and hence, it has been a challenging task for archaeologists to find out the purpose Machu Picchu’s construction, why it was built at such an implausible altitude and how its inhabitants were obliterated in a short span of time. It is a place that evokes a sense of higher purpose, as it is thought to be located at the core of a double vertex. Many a visitor to the citadel is a pilgrim who believes that its sacred energy is associated with enormous potency.
Machu Picchu-secrets of the Inca Empire
The Incas stand out from other ancient civilizations due to the prominence of their magnificence and mystique during their short era of about three centuries. They were a strictly controlled society that was enlightened in many aspects, but enigmatic in others. They were highly skilled in architecture, earthenware and textiles. Despite their expediency, the creative civilization was plagued with tragedies, such as civil war, smallpox epidemic and the ultimate Spanish invasion that prevented them from attaining their full development.
The mystery of Machu Picchu pertains to its strange topographical location on the high Andes, the almost impassable terrain, the incomparable stone technology, and the mesmerizing grandeur imparted by its vortex energy.
They were masters of a building technique called ashlar, in which stone blocks were cut to give a perfect fit without the use of mortar. Their expertise in stone masonry is evident from the junctions in the city walls that do not allow even a blade of grass to pass between them. Given that Peru is a seismic land, mortar-free buildings were resistant to earthquakes as they can shift slightly and settle again without collapsing. Mortar was used only for mediocre construction and not for important structures.
The wobbling heights did not deter the Incans from creating agricultural terraces around the mountains for planting crops.
Intihuatana stone, considered to be the most sacred in their temples, is said to have imparted knowledge and visions to seekers who were pure in heart.
Machu Picchu myths and legends
There is a myth that extraterrestrials assisted in the creation of Machu Picchu and planetary guardians kept it hidden to prevent any imbalance in its vortex energy, and that its discovery in 1911 was by divine plan. Even after the fall of the Incan Empire, it is said that Machu Picchu was protected by extraterrestrials from the Spanish Conquistadors.
There is a legend that female priests lived in the Temple of the Sun Virgins as servants of the sun god Inti; perhaps, because much of the skeletal remains were that of women.
An old Inca legend states that Viracocha, their creator caused a big fire and extinguished it just to demonstrate his power. Being burnt thus, the stones became as light as a cork, so that even huge ones could be lifted easily.
As the Spaniards never found Machu Picchu, a myth began to spread that plenty of treasure was hidden under it and that it was once clad in gold. However, the city is only built of stone, and the myth was perhaps created after the Spaniards discovered gold in other cities of South America.
It is also said that there is an undiscovered city by name of ‘Paititi’, where the Incas hid their treasures. This mystery still remains as the Peruvian jungle is vast and secretive.
Tourists are told that they will be attacked by altitude sickness upon reaching the Machu Picchu citadel. However, this is not true for most people, as the tour to Machu Picchu starts from Cusco, at 11,200 ft above sea level, which is higher than Machu Picchu at about 8,000 ft above sea level. Hence, acclimatization starts at Cusco and moving down to Machu Picchu usually has little to do with altitude sickness.
What questions does Machu Picchu evoke?
When one looks at the intricately cut massive stone walls, the first question that arises is how did they cut them and transport them up there.
The valleys below Machu Picchu could provide all the Incas’ needs, and were also remote enough to protect them from invaders, but why did they select such a perilous and inconvenient altitude for their city?
The Sacred District comprising the Temple of the Sun, Room of Three Windows and the most important Intihuatana Stone served as an astronomical observatory. The unique construction of the sectors, the Intihuatana at the apex of a pyramidal platform and other mystic features makes one wonder how and why they applied such advanced technology in such a place.