Curiosities of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu, the Old Mountain, according to its meaning in Quechua, is an ancient Andean town that is believed to have been built in the middle of the 15th century and that would be the most important religious, ceremonial and residential center of the Inca empire, specifically Pachacuteq.

It is considered a masterpiece of architecture and engineering due to the complexity and spectacularity of its construction in a place so difficult to build. In addition, its spectacular landscape situation has turned it into a mysterious place, the main subject of much literature and much research from a scientific, esoteric and religious point of view. It is also one of the most important tourist spots in the world. Hiking to Machu Picchu is one of the best experiences that you can enjoy in your life. Over 1.2 million people visit ever year, many of which either trek the Inca Trail or one of the alternative trails to the ancient city. It is situated inside the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu in the Cusco region of Peru and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Now I will present you the most interestin curiosities of Machu Picchu:

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  • The Sacred Square of Machu Picchu, converted into a heliport.

The Sacred Square of Machu Picchu has been designated as the political-social center of the urban sector. It is surrounded, or rather, composed of the Main Temple, the Temple of the Three Windows and the Intihuatana (religious symbol represented by an aerolite carved in solid rock), but also seats the House of the Priest and the Temple of the Moon . Surrounded by terraces, these were not intended for cultivation, as you would expect, but were designed to accommodate the large number of attendees present in all the different celebrations and festivities of the city.

According to Dr. Manuel Chávez Ballón (resident archaeologist of Machu Picchu) in 1978, by order of the Peruvian Government, the monolith located in the center of the Main Square of the Inca city of Machu Picchu was removed; this to allow the landing of a helicopter that brought the king and queen of Spain, Carlos and Sofia. Another case occurred in 1989, during the presidency of Alan García; The rock was removed once more to receive helicopters, during a meeting of Latin American leaders. In this process, the workers accidentally broke the rock, causing irreversible damage. Then taking the decision to bury it.

  • Peruvian sisters claim to be owners of Machu Picchu.

Roxana and Victoria Abril claim to be the real owners of Machu Picchu, they say they should not pay a ticket to enter their land. According to them, his great-grandfather Mariano Ignacio Ferro, bought the land in a legal manner, before being rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911. With writings of 1905 in which his great-grandfather is credited as owner of the lands, and a 1916 book in which a writer thanks them for their entrance, these two women claim to be owners of Machu Picchu. According to Peruvian laws, the treasures or archaeological remains that are found on private property belong to the state; the land goes to expropriation, and the owner receives fair compensation. Since 2013, the April sisters continue a lawsuit against the Peruvian state, demanding compensation, in the amount of US $ 100 million, and a percentage of the future benefits generated by the Inca City.

  • The Inca could eat fresh fish, brought from the coast to Machu Picchu in 24 hours.

Young men exercised the work of relay messengers; known as Chasquis, had the function of carrying messages and goods quickly, through the more than 40,000 kilometers of Inca roads. The Chaski had to go at full speed in a short journey, to be later relieved by another. This fast postal service, meant that they could communicate quickly from Machu Picchu in Cusco (capital of the empire) to all the Tahuantinsuyo. A package from Cusco to Quito, could be delivered in 6 days; while you could have fresh fish from the Coast region (near Arequipa), in just 24 hours.

  • Human sacrifices

In the Inca Civilization the Capacocha was practiced.A ritual in which children were sacrificed; as “real obligation”. For the Incas, death was the beginning of another life; boys and girls were chosen to be sacrificed, because they were considered pure beings; these generally belonged to good families. The historian Carmen Martín, points out that children of great beauty were chosen from throughout the empire; These used to be between 6 and 8 years old, although they could also be older. It is known that death came to them painlessly; they did not feel anything, probably because they were narcotized with coca leaves or chicha, and when they fell asleep, they were exposed to very low temperatures on the tops of the glacier mountains, and they died frozen. In these celebrations called Capacocha, animals were also sacrificed, and symbolic marriages were carried out, to strengthen relations with the rulers of the conquered peoples.

  • Hiram Bingham was not the first to find Machu Picchu

In spite of being the official discoverer of Machu Picchu, in 1911; There is true evidence of several foreign explorers who would have arrived many years before. In 1874 the German explorer Herman Göhring recorded the Inca citadel on his exploration map. In 1901 Agustín Lizárraga engraved his name on one of the walls of the temple of the 3 windows, echoed by Hiram Bingham himself, but omitted later, from his memoirs. Machu Picchu was not a lost city but it was hidden by the silence of the locals.

  • The shooting of a beer ad caused irreparable damage to the solar clock (Intihuatana) of Machu Picchu

On September 8,of the year 2000, during the recording of an advertisement for  Cusqueña beer, the upper south corner of the Intihuatana (solar clock) suffered irreparable damage when a crane fell on it. He blamed the Peruvian government and an employee of the culture ministry, who granted an unofficial permit, which allowed heavy filming equipment in the Sanctuary of Machu Picchu.

  • Dr. Manuel Chávez Ballón known archaeologist resident of Machu Picchu

He was born in the city of Puno on June 2, 1919, studied at the San Agustín University of Arequipa, and then at the University of San Marcos in Lima (the oldest in South America). Later he obtained a doctorate of specialization as a teacher in history and geography, before receiving the position of resident archaeologist of the sanctuary of Machu Picchu (1966-71). Years later he opened the “Taller Inka”, where he would teach Peruvian history. He died in his workshop on June 12, 2000.

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