In the Andes Mountains of Peru is the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu. It was constructed in the 15th century and later abandoned. Its dry-stone walls are a marvel of architecture, and the buildings play on the alignment of astronomical stars. The site is a great example of an astronomical observatory, though its exact purpose is a mystery. Nevertheless, visitors to the site have to come prepared to spend some time admiring its incredible view and pondering its origins.
Machu Picchu was a retreat for the Inca elite
Built in the tangled forest, Machu Picchu was a retreat for Inca elites who wanted to escape the clamor of the city. Its narrow entrance was designed to keep the Inca elite secluded. The city was built by Pachacuti, the ruler of the Inca empire. It served as a retreat for the ruling Incas as well as hundreds of seasonal servants.
Although archaeological evidence has failed to uncover a direct link between the city and its surrounding area, many scholars believe that the ruins of Machu Picchu were a royal estate and religious center. The site’s proximity to mountains and other geographical features that the Incas held sacred made it a prime location for a temple and royal retreat. Several alternative hypotheses have also cropped up since the site was first revealed to the world. Some scholars have suggested it was used as a prison or as a trade hub. Others have suggested it was a city dedicated to coronation ceremonies.
The first museum to show the ruins of the lost city of Machu Picchu was the Yale Peabody Museum of Natural History. In 1911, a Yale archaeologist named Hiram Bingham led an expedition to Peru and discovered the ruins. Bingham, a wealthy explorer, had been impressed with the ruins of Machu Picchu a year earlier. The idea of finding the elusive “lost city” was intriguing. Unfortunately, the Inca civilization disappeared in the 1500s, leaving only a few traces of the ancient city.
The main temple was a sacred place for the Incas. During the bustling days of the Inca Empire, Machu Picchu was home to seventy-five men and women, including priests, higher nobles, and a handful of servants. The complex also contained numerous buildings and religious experts. The main temple, or Intihuatana, was the center of the city.
It was an astronomical observatory
There is new evidence to suggest that Machu Picchu was a pre-Inca astronomical observatory. Researchers from the Decentralized Culture Directorate of Cusco recently announced that the ruins of Machu Picchu were once an astronomical observatory. The findings were the result of extensive research by foreign and national specialists. According to Fernando Astete, head of the Inca archaeological park, the site had both a front and side window, and the structures were likely erected to track the sun.
The discovery of the ruins was made possible by an excavation team led by Yale Professor Hiram Bingham in 1911. The researchers recovered thousands of artifacts from the site. They then signed an agreement with the Peruvian government that permitted them to study and return the artifacts to Peru. Today, most of the artifacts are on display at the Yale Peabody Museum. The research team will continue to explore the site, but in the meantime, the artifacts are on display at Yale University.
The ancient Incas believed the sky was connected to everything in their society. In particular, the sky had a special significance in managing their civilization. The site was built around the sun’s movement across the sky, and the builders of the site predated the Incas by almost two thousand years. They worshipped the sun and placed the towers in strategic positions to view the sunrise and set during the June solstice. The Incas may have also been involved in agricultural experimentation.
The Incas were highly adept at astronomy and used it to guide their daily lives. The Incas used their knowledge of stars and constellations to predict the seasons and to plan their farming activities. They also built pillars on the hills and mountains to mark certain astronomical events. These structures also served as a temple dedicated to the god Inti, who was their sun. This festival honors the new cycle of life.
It was a fortress
Although there’s little written evidence, it’s believed that the Incas used Machu Picchu as a watch-guard and strategic location. The Incas also used it as a symbol of the Amazon region. The Fortress is a complex of structures, including a central plaza, a royal palace, and a Temple of the Sun. Houses built on steeply sloping ground crammed the steep streets and were accessible by rock-cut staircases.
Early historians interpreted the mountain-top city as a fortress. The stone walls, dry moats, and tall towers are all consistent with a fortress. Although it was only occupied for a short time, it is believed to have been built to hold sacred and important ceremonies. It is unclear exactly why the Incas would build a fortress, but it’s possible that the building was built to serve religious purposes.
When Hiram Bingham arrived in Peru in 1911 with a group of explorers, they were looking for the lost Inca city of Vilcabamba, which was the last Inca stronghold to be taken by the Spanish. As they traveled on foot, the group came across a small group of peasants who told them about the ruins in the area. Bingham, a British archaeologist, named the mountain Machu Picchu, which translates to “old peak.”
When the Spanish conquered Peru, they had no idea of the existence of Machu Picchu. Intihuatana, a stone carved into the side of a mountain, was meant to hitch the sun during the solstices and equinoxes. On March 21st, the midday sun is almost directly overhead; on September 21st, the sun “sits with all his might.”
It was built without mortar
The question of whether Machu Picchu was built without mortar is a real one. The ruins are an incredible archaeological find, perched high on an Andes mountain ridge. The Incas created the ruins over 90 years, without the aid of mortar or any other metallic instruments. The skeletal remains of the Inca builders are evidence that they did not use mortar in the construction of the ruins.
This ancient city was built between the 15th and 16th centuries by the Incas, who ruled western South America. It was abandoned a hundred years after it was built, and around the time of the Spanish conquest, which never reached the area. Some historians believe the Incas abandoned the city due to a smallpox epidemic that killed off much of the population. The buildings are still in good condition and haven’t suffered much erosion.
Hiram Bingham III, a professor at Yale University, discovered the site in 1911. He was struck by the quality of the stonework. He had never seen stonework of this quality before. Bingham continued to scout the area, and found a cave lined with the finest cut stone. A few more years of scouting revealed that it was indeed a lost Inca city. But Bingham couldn’t stop admiring the ancient ruins.
In fact, the structures of Machu Picchu were constructed entirely of stones, with no mortar. This made them more resistant to earthquakes, and it made the buildings easier to transport. The Incas also didn’t have heavy beasts of burden or wheels to move large stones. The stone-made structures were a small city and likely home to Inca priests, nobility, and servants. There is no mortar to be found in the ruins, but ashlar technique was used to fit the stones together.
It was built to withstand an earthquake
While the stonework on the walls of the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu is amazing, the site was also subjected to two earthquakes when it was being built. These earthquakes damaged the walls and forced the Incas to use more seismic-resistant building techniques. However, this change of construction style does not explain the inclinations and deformations in certain ceremonial centers. The earthquake did not cause any permanent damage, but it did result in a drastic change in the style and materials used in construction.
To understand why the Incas built Machu Picchu, we need to understand how this place is positioned on the earth. This region is a confluence of three main fault directions and two secondary ones that run north-south and east-west. According to Menegat, the buildings of Machu Picchu were oriented on these faults. Further, the buildings of other Inca settlements were constructed on these fault lines. Without a solid foundation, building at such heights would be impossible.
In order to avoid the risk of collapse, the Incas used ashlar construction, which means there is no mortar or cement. The stones were joined together without mortar, which minimizes stress points and vibrations. As a result, the structure survived an earthquake for almost 600 years. In addition to the earthquake-resistant construction, the Incas also made sure the building had deep foundations and extensive crushed rock drainage systems.
The Incas did not use big animals or iron tools when building the site. The ground of the site was constructed by moving earth and stone between mountain peaks. This means that over 60% of the construction took place underground. The Incas used crushed rock and stone to create the building’s drainage system. Because of the high-altitude location, the Incas had to construct a building that could withstand an earthquake.