For many years Machu Picchu was known only to local farmers in the region before being rediscovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911 – Head of the expedition to Peru from Yale University. He was taken to the mysterious ruins by one of the locals. Bingham and other participants in the expedition were amazed at how well the city was preserved 400 years after it was mysteriously abandoned by its inhabitants. Hiram Bingham was the one to give its name Machu Picchu “Lost City of the Incas.”
Machu Picchu was built in the period from 1460 to 1470 by the founder of the Inca Empire -Pachakuti Yupanki. The city includes about 200 buildings (houses, palaces, temples, astronomical observatories and warehouses). It is truly remarkable achievement of urban planning, construction, and architecture. Wall separates the agricultural area of the town. In the southern part, there is a series of carved niches that Bingham called "prison", thinking that these niches were used for hanging prisoners with stone rings. Today this area is more accurately identified as part of the " Temple of the Condor." The latter is so named because of the high Andean condor image on the granite surface,located in the lowest part.
The amazing buildings of red stone next to the temple are known as “The accommodation of intellectuals” it is believed that in them lived amounts Next to them is the territory of princesses. That religious zone represents a real masterpiece of the architecture of the Incas. In the center, there is the sacred plaza where they committed most popular religious ceremonies.
There is also the “Temple of the Sun” a semi-circular structure carved into the solid rock with two windows, one of which looks east and the other on the north.Scientists believe that these two windows were used for a solar observatory.
In the “Temple of the three Windows” there is an image that represents the three levels of the world: Hanan – Pacha (the highest level of heavenly paradise), Kai-Pacha (terrestrial world) and Ukzhu-Pacha.
An excellent example of the construction skills of the Incas is a “sacred temple” with perfectly polished stone blocks. Other religious buildings are “Mansion of priests” and enigmatic sanctuary, known as the “Intihuatana.” This is one of the most mysterious buildings in Machu Picchu. It consists of a large column of granite, which probably served as a stylus (arrow sundial) or arrow on the solar disk, which comes from the huge pyramid. Scientists suggest that the sanctuary is the solar observatory of the city.
What continues to amaze scientists till today is how all these buildings were built. All constructions are unique – they are with remarkable structural strength and high resistance to earthquakes. It is unclear how the massive stone blocks were removed. The mystery, which is shrouds Machu Picchu, is reinforced by the lack of documents to give any information about the magnificent complex.
According to modern theories, Machu Picchu was a ceremonial city that served as a royal manor and religious sanctuary complex for the royal family, priests, and priestesses.
The depopulation of Machu Picchu is also a big mystery. A few of the numerous assumptions are severe and prolonged droughts, devastating fire and epidemic. The last hypothesis is considered the most valid – a serious epidemic that killed a large percentage of the population.
Decades after the discovery Machu Picchu is no longer the Lost City of the Incas, and is one of the most visited places in the world.