I have always wanted to go to Machu Picchu. When I was in grade 3, I learned about Peru and how there is an ancient city called Machu Picchu. I really like history so I enjoyed learning about this abandoned city. A couple of years ago before our trip, we made a list of places we wanted to go. I chose Peru because I wanted to go to Machu Picchu.
I was really excited to go see it in person but when we walked to the top of the mountain, I was amazed! It is truly incredible how the Incan people built this city within this rugged environment that is influenced by the seasons so much.
The Incan city of about 450 people was built by Pachacuti, one of the greatest kings of the Incan civilization. It is built in between two mountains called Machu Picchu and Waynapiccu. It was built in that specific spot because of the sun. The sun is very important to the Incan culture. It is one their gods.
The design of the city is influenced by the seasons and the summer solstice, winter solstice, and fall and spring equinoxes. As you know, the sun rises in the east and sets in the west. In the Incan city, all the windows face east so they get the maximum amount of daylight for warmth and light.
The Incans were very smart about how they used the land on the mountain. They flattened the land in what looks like a staircase going down the mountain. This is called terracing. This helps with stabilization and water drainage, and prevents erosion. As well, every building and field would get the sunlight they needed without having shadows cast by another building on them.
Houses were similar to our houses today, in that they had a roof, doors, windows and walls, but they were constructed differently. The roof was made out of grasses. So I then made an observation that there are no roofs anymore because over time the straw has disintegrated. The actual houses were made out of granite rock. They are very strong structures and have survived earthquakes. Granite is very heavy so you might be wondering how they got it to the houses? Well, they used rocks that were in the shape of rollers. They would roll the rocks all the way there! It took the Incans 80 to 100 years to build Machu Picchu.
We actually do not know where all the Incans went, but many believe that they fled to fight the Spanish. There are also signs that the Europeans brought diseases, that would have killed some of them. So, Machu Picchu became abandoned. Over time the bushes and trees grew over the buildings so only the tops of 2 or 3 could be seen!
Many believe that Hiram Bingham discovered Machu Picchu. However, I learned that the person who discovered it was a man named Agustin Lizarraga, who was a local farmer. He left an inscription in a temple saying “Lizarraga 14 de Julio de 1902”.
On July 24th, 1911, Bingham set out to find the ancient city. It was then that he discovered Lizarraga’s inscription recorded 9 years earlier. Once he rediscovered it in July, he then revealed this amazing ancient city to the world in October 1911.
Going to Machu Picchu was such an amazing experience. Before going, I thought I knew a lot about it but after visiting, I realize that there was so much I didn’t know. Now that I have been there I appreciate how much work and effort the Incans put into the construction of their city. Our guide was so passionate about the Incan culture! He made me feel like I was there during the Incan times. Going to Machu Picchu was even better than I thought it would be.
We're the Danchuks - follow our explorations and family adventures in a wide world (2018).