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As one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and the most visited tourist destination in Peru, Machu Picchu is one spot that many travel lovers have on their bucket list.

Before you venture off on the next Machu Picchu trips from the UK, you might want to know a few things about this historic site so that you can appreciate this incredible spot even more. 

Machu Picchu: 5 Interesting Things to Know

Machu Picchu is an Incan Citadel

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This iconic landmark is an Incan Citadel that was built in the 15th century, high up in the Andes Mountains of Peru.

It is made up of over 150 buildings, which included baths, sanctuaries, houses and temples, as well as over 100 separate flights of stairs.

2. Machu Picchu Was Created in a Unique Way

One of the most interesting things about the buildings of Machu Picchu is that they were all built without the use of mortar.

Instead of using another material to help hold the bricks together, each stone of Machu Picchu was cut so precisely that it fits together perfectly without the need for mortar to keep the walls together.

It’s so strongly pieced together that the foundations are built to withstand earthquakes!

What’s even more impressive about this feat of engineering is that it was all done without the use of iron tools, animal power or wheels. It is believed that hundreds of men pushed the heavy rocks up the mountainside themselves to create the impressive structure.

3. Machu Picchu Was ‘Rediscovered’ in 1911

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Machu Picchu was only known to still exist by locals until Professor Hiram Bingham of Yale University rediscovered the citadel in 1911. From his discovery, he wrote the book ‘The Lost City of the Incas’.

Bingham collected a number of artefacts during his exploration of Machu Picchu, which he took with him to Yale University.

A lengthy dispute emerged between Yale and Peru over these artefacts; Yale believed they owned them, Peru considered them to be on loan.

The conflict was resolved in 2011, and over 5,000 Inca artefacts were returned to Peru, 100 years after they were first removed.

4. There Are Multiple Ways to Reach Machu Picchu

For such a hidden spot, you’d think there would only be one way in and out of this ancient land, but there are a few ways that you can get to Machu Picchu.

The most famous of these routes is the Inca Trail, which only allows access to 200 trekkers a day (plus their guides and porters), making it a highly sought after experience.

The Inca Trail leads through an assortment of impressive Incan structures on the way to Machu Picchu, so you can see even more of the ancient way of life.

Alternatively, you can explore the Salkantay Trek or Lares Trek, which offer scenic routes, following cultural paths that let you experience more of the Peruvian landscape.

Finally, for those who aren’t in the mood for days of trekking, you can actually get a train to Machu Picchu! 

5. We’re Not Sure Why Machu Picchu Was Built

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The reason for the existence of Machu Picchu is unconfirmed; however, archaeologists and historians have several different theories, including being a royal estate for an Incan emperor or being a secret ceremonial site.

Despite these uncertainties, it is believed that Machu Picchu had an astronomical observatory. You can still see the sacred Intihuatana stone, a ritual stone associated with the Incan calendar, which can accurately indicate the biannual equinoxes, as the sun sits directly over the stone on these days, but creates no shadow.

As you can tell, Machu Picchu is a fascinating place with a rich, cultural history, so it’s not difficult to see why this is a destination that so many long to visit. Is Machu Picchu somewhere you would like to visit? 

Megan is an Australian Journalist and award-winning travel writer who has been blogging since 2007. Her husband Mike is the American naturalist and wildlife photographer behind Waking Up Wild; an online magazine dedicated to opening your eyes to the wonders of the wild & natural world.

Having visited 100+ countries across all seven continents, Megan’s travels focus on cultural immersion, authentic discovery and incredible journeys. She has a strong passion for ecotourism, and aims to promote responsible travel experiences.


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