MACHU PICCHU AND THE LEGACY OF THE INCAS
Because the Incas left no written history, knowledge of their everyday life is very much a mystery! However, what we do know comes from archaeological finds. Machu Picchu is a spiritual site built by the Incan Empire between 1438 AD - 1532 AD, during their short 100 year reign. Although the Inca themselves were a small ethnic group, they gained control over more than 12 million people from 100 different cultures in an area stretching over 2,500 miles! When the Spanish arrived in the early 1500s, the Inca made the decision to abandon their holy city to preserve its architecture and beauty. As the Inca hoped, Machu Picchu was never discovered by the Spanish conquistadors invading the region in the early 1500s. It wasn’t until 1911, 300 years after it had been abandoned, that French-American explorer Hiram Bingham came across the “lost city” as he was searching for the hidden capital city of Vilcabamba, located 50 miles north. Here are some fun facts about the history and mystery of Machu Picchu and the Legacy of the Incas:
Coya, the Inca queen, played an integral role in ceremonies and was expected to take over for her husband if he was indisposed. She was representative of the moon, and the emperor represented the sun.
SPIRITUALITY ABOVE ALL
Machu Picchu sits in the shadows of two mountains, Montana Picchu and Huayna Picchu, that were used by the Incas for worship and sacrifice. Huayna Picchu is home to the Temple of the Moon which is carved into rock an believed to preserve the mummified bodies of Machu Picchu’s leaders.
IT'S IN THE STARS
Some researchers believe Machu Picchu was built as an astronomical observatory, and the site’s multiple observation points suggest that the Incas worshipped the sun. Twice a year, the sun sits directly over the sacred Intihuatana stone with no shadow.
YOU'VE GOT MAIL
Because the Inca did not have a written language, they were extremely skilled verbal communicators. They had postal system where relay messengers would run across rope bridges to deliver communications to the next team on the other side.
BUILT TO LAST
The Inca’s did not use draft animals, iron tools, or the wheel in the construction of Machu Picchu. It was constructed atop two fault lines, so without the Incan ingenuity, many of the best known buildings at Machu Picchu would’ve crumbled long ago!
WHAT'S FOR DINNER?
The Inca’s drank a beer called Chicha made from fermented maize, and they commonly ate guinea pigs, or cuy, that fed on plants and kitchen scraps inside their homes