Famous as one of the Seven Wonders of the World, the Machu Picchu history reveals the site as the lost Inca city. There are many other settlements of Inca, but none of them are entitled as lost. So, now the question remains why Machu Picchu is called as lost? This mystery, the interesting probe, makes it necessary to know about its history and discovery. Don’t you think so? Let’s find out!
Machu Picchu History
Built around 1450, Machu Picchu history is only some 100 years old after which it was abandoned as the official site for the Inca rulers in 1572 due to the Spanish Invasion. The unique and most stunning fact of the city was that it was only famous among the locals since its existence and that it was only brought into the focus in the eyes of the other world in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. So, obviously, the site remained hidden even to the Spanish and so was not plundered retaining it’s cultural and holy significance even today due to its art and sacred rocks.
According to the Machu Picchu history, the inhabitants greatly declined due to smallpox before the Spanish conquest. Then, as the time passed, the neighboring forest covered the maximum area of the site that hardly anything remained to mark the presence of the site in the present time.
Beliefs Behind the Machu Picchu Construction
The beliefs are a varied mix of beliefs and findings of the Inca civilization. Some of the earliest theories of Hiram Bingham reveal that the city was the birthplace of the Incan Virgins of the Suns. Other scholars, such as John Rowe and Richard Burger, were quite convincing in the fact that it was an estate of the Inca emperor, Pachacuti. Further, other archaeologists believe that the city was built at this site due to its position amidst the holy landscape features such as its mountains as believed by the Incas. It is also said that Machu Picchu was an Inca llaqta, a settlement from where the economy of the dominated regions was managed. Still a series of other beliefs say that it was an ancient fortress due to defendable location of steep trail and drawbridges, a royal retreat, and a religious place of Incas due to sacred rocks.
Some more beliefs are that the city was built as a prison for those who have committed terrible crimes and that it was an agricultural testing site where many types of crops in several different micro-climates of the location and terraces were tested.
Despite so many arguments, no one knows or is sure about which theory is true. So, Machu Picchu still remains mysterious.
Disclosing to the World
On July 24, 1911, Machu Picchu was disclosed to some scholars by Hiram Bingham who found the city with a local 11 year old boy named Pablito Alvarez. After exploring the ancient city, he named it as The Lost City of the Incas, which was also his first book’s title. The reason behind this name was that he thought it to be the last capital of Inca-Vilcabamba the old, which seemed to be lost to the Peruvian Historians. But afterwards it was found that Machu Picchu was not Vilcabamba.
Bingham was in hunt of the city of Vilcapampa, which was the last Inca sanctuary at the time of the Spanish conquest of Peru. After many trips, finally in 1911, he reached the ruins with the help of the Quechuas living there. The site then became popular to the world after the National Geographic Society’s coverage of the site in April 1913.
The surrounded area of Machu Picchu was entitled as a Historical Sanctuary of Peru in 1971 encompassing the ruins and a large area rich in flora and fauna. Not only this, but the ancient Inca city was then declared as a World Heritage Site in 1983 when it was famed as “an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to the Inca civilization”.
Machu Picchu was then on the Watch List of 100 Endangered Sites in 2008 coined by the World Monuments Fund due to environmental degradation from tourism, random development in the close by regions.