Machu Picchu is renowned as the lost city of the Inca’s. It’s visited by thousands of history buffs, new wave healers, curious tourists, and pilgrims each year. Some venture to honor the sacred temple; others are fascinated by the historical significance, while many make the trek in hopes of benefiting from the powerful energy rumored to spring forth from the ruins.
Regardless of what archeology has told us, there are many interesting and lesser know facts about Machu Picchu that you might not know…
1. Machu Picchu is not a lost Incan city
We know that explorer Hiram Bingham III discovered Machu Picchu in 1911, but what we didn’t know was that Bingham discovered this site while searching for Vilcabamba, the hidden capital that the Inca fled to in order to escape Spanish conquistadors in 1532.
2. The staff is quite superstitious
Porters, who often have to sleep on the trail in tents, hide shiny metal mirrors underneath them to ward off ancient spirits within the earth.
3. It’s built on two fault lines
Machu Picchu is built on 2 fault lines. However, the construction protects it whenever Peru suffers an earthquake. The stones of Machu Picchu are reputed to “dance” or bounce during a seismic event and then fall back into their rightful place.
4. It’s host to a race
Every year marathoners race along the 26-mile long Inca Trail. The fastest time is 3-hours and 26-minutes.
5. The walk is treacherous
You might know that you can trek up Machu Picchu for free. However, the trail upwards is steep and strenuous, taking approximately 90-minutes in total, but at the top, the views is amazing!
6. The rules of entrance
Sure, the site has posted “rules of entrance”. However, that list doesn’t include the fact that you’ll be denied admittance if you try to enter dressed in the traditional garb of another country—that means no kimonos, kilts, or dirndls.
7. There are multiple viewing peaks
Most visitors race to arrive before dawn to be one of the first 400 people eligible to climb the famed Huayna Picchu peak. But lesser known is Machu Picchu Mountain, which lies at the opposite end of the site and is twice as tall at 1,640 feet.
8. Small pox eradicated the original residents
Archaeologists blame a small pox epidemic, brought to Machu Picchu by Spanish Conquistadors, for killing the original population.
9. The meaning behind the name…
‘Machu Picchu’ literally translates to ‘old mountain’—which is really not very mysterious.
10. The latest wonder of the world
Recently an Internet audience collaborated to have Machu Picchu signified as one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World” as of April 2013.