We are here to reveal some compelling Machu Picchu facts and secrets. The most interesting archeological site of the world has its own bundle of things that still challenges many great minds of the world.
Machu Picchu attracts the most tourists in Peru. And if you are heading to the Inca empire now, time to brush up on your knowledge of it.
20 Remarkable Machu Picchu Facts and Secrets
Machu Picchu is one of the seven wonders of the world.
On July 7, 2007, Machu Picchu was chosen as one of the seven wonders of the world. This was chosen by more than 100 million people worldwide through open voting on the internet.
The meaning of the Machu Picchu
The meaning of “Machu Picchu” name is “Old Peak” or “Old Mountain.” The name is derived from the ancient Quechua language. This language cannot be found in the Spanish Dictionaries.
A royal destination
Another Machu Picchu fact is, it is believed that Machu Picchu was originally a vacation spot or a resort to the royal family. It was to help them escape the busy lives they led in Cuzco.
There is more than one peak to climb.
The Huayna Picchu peak takes a 60-minute climb to reach, and the queue to wait is even longer. But there isn’t only one peak to climb in Machu Picchu. There is a Machu Picchu Mountain peak which is twice as tall as the former. From there, you can look at the entire city in panorama view.
60% of the infrastructure is underground
This architectural wonder is still a riddle to many. What is more impressive is that 60% of the town’s construction is underground. There is even proper rain drainage and water canals for irrigation and also normal consumption.
Machu Picchu can withstand earthquakes.
Peru has seen many earthquakes, but Machu Picchu still stands. The quite astonishing news is that the foundation was built without any mortar; still, it has overcome uncountable earthquakes. During the earthquake, the stones dance in their place, but they fall right back into their original places when the tremors stop.
Not the lost city of Inca
Hiram Bingham named the city and believed that he found the original lost city – Vilcabamba. He thought that Machu Picchu was Vilcabamba, but 55 years later, he was proved wrong by Gene Savoy. Today, Machu Picchu is mistakenly known as “The lost city of Incas.”
The Incas never wanted to be discovered.
When the Incas were escaping the Spanish, they burned the area surrounding Machu Picchu so that the re-growth will cover up their trails. The town was never known about until Bingham discovered it in 1911.
The construction of Machu Picchu
Another amazing Machu Picchu fact is about the construction of the place. The technique used is called “ashar.” In this, the stones are cut to fit each other perfectly that not even a piece of paper can go between the spaces. This technique is not only impressive to look at but also considered great engineering.
The secret door
Thierry Jamin, a French archaeologist, and explorer found a secret door in Machu Picchu. The sad fact was that the government of Peru denied its revealing. It was probably because they feared what the revealing could do to the place. Even after many attempts to convince them, the French archaeologist failed to get behind that door.
There is a yearly marathon organized by the local tour agencies of Machu Picchu. Participants sprint across the 30 km distance-long trail. The fastest record ever set for this marathon is under 3.5 hours.
No folklore costumes are allowed.
Nobody knows the reason behind this strange Machu Picchu fact, but if you try to enter Machu Picchu in your or any cultural get-ups (a kimono, a kilt, etc.), your entrance would be denied. You won’t find this rule in any brochures.
No wheels were used
No traces have been found of wheels being used during the construction of Machu Picchu. The stones are believed to be pushed by hundreds of men, making the place and the construction even more interesting.
1.3 million people visit yearly
Around 1.3 million people visit Machu Picchu yearly. That is 25 thousand people a month!
Machu Picchu is a no-fly zone.
The Peru government has strictly denied helicopters to fly over the area. It is mainly because of its impact on flora and fauna since there was a lot of damage caused.
There are only two possible ways to reach Machu Picchu.
Another Machu Picchu fact is about how to reach the place. As it is a very remote location, there are only two ways. The first is through the Inca trail trek, and the other is by train to Cuzco, which drops you at the base of the mountain.
The population of Machu Picchu
In the 1400s, the population of Machu Picchu was between 300 to 1,000 people, and these people were of the highest social class of the Inca civilization.
Dispute between Peru and Yale University
Another Machu Picchu fact unknown to many is the 100-year long dispute between Peru and Yale University. Bingham’s team collected thousands of artifacts from Machu Picchu during its revealing from 1911 to 1915. The artifacts included jewelry, ceramics, silver; almost around 5000+ artifacts were collected from there during the exploration of the sight.
Peru argued that the artifacts were given as a loan to the Yale University for scientific research, but the University insisted that they owned these artifacts. In 2011, after 100 years, the dispute came to an end, and Yale University returned all the artifacts to Peru. Putting the battle to rest.
A family claiming property rights of Machu Picchu
Roxana Abrill Nunez, one of the descendants of the farmers living on the land when Bingham “discovered” the city, has filed several lawsuits worth more than 100 million dollars in compensation. Peru has continued to deny these claims. The descendant had even shown the deed of the property that the family purchased in 1910, a year before Bingham arrived there.
Get your passport stamped.
A great Machu Picchu fact for those who love stamps on their passports. You can get various types of stamps within Peru. You can now get your passports stamped when you enter Machu Picchu. You can get the stamp whether you are coming from the Inca trail trek or the same train to Machu Picchu.