Anniversary of the rediscovery of Machu Picchu

OV Digital Desk

Machu Picchu is an ancient Inca citadel located in the Andes Mountains of Peru. It is one of the most iconic and well-preserved archaeological sites in the world and holds immense historical and cultural significance. Machu Picchu is situated at an altitude of approximately 2,430 meters (7,970 feet) above sea level and overlooks the Urubamba River valley.

Historical Background

Machu Picchu was built by the Inca civilization during the 15th century, at the peak of their empire’s power. The exact purpose of the site remains a subject of scholarly debate, but it is believed to have served as a royal estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti. Some theories suggest it was a religious center, a fortress, or a retreat for the elite. The site was likely abandoned and left to the elements after the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire in the 16th century.


Machu Picchu remained relatively unknown to the outside world until its rediscovery by the American historian and explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911. While searching for the lost city of Vilcabamba, Bingham stumbled upon the overgrown ruins of Machu Picchu. His subsequent explorations and documentation of the site brought international attention to this ancient wonder.

Architectural Marvel

Machu Picchu is renowned for its remarkable Inca stonework. The site was constructed using massive stones fitted together without the use of mortar, showcasing the engineering skills of the Inca civilization. The precision and craftsmanship of the construction have contributed to the site’s preservation over the centuries.

Key Structures

Machu Picchu is divided into two main areas: the agricultural sector and the urban sector.

  1. Agricultural Sector: This part of the site consists of terraced fields and agricultural structures where the Incas cultivated crops. The terraces were ingeniously designed to prevent soil erosion and provide optimal growing conditions.
  2. Urban Sector: The urban sector contains a series of plazas, temples, residential buildings, and other structures. Notable features include the Temple of the Sun, the Room of the Three Windows, and the Intihuatana stone, an intricately carved ritual stone associated with astronomical observations.

Importance and UNESCO World Heritage Site

In 1983, Machu Picchu was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in recognition of its cultural and historical significance. It is considered a prime example of Inca civilization’s achievements in architecture, engineering, and art. The site’s exceptional preservation and its spectacular setting in the Andes have made it a popular destination for tourists and a symbol of Peru’s rich cultural heritage.

Conservation and Tourism

Due to its popularity as a tourist destination, Machu Picchu faces challenges related to preservation and conservation. Efforts are made to limit the number of visitors allowed each day, and ongoing conservation work aims to protect the site from environmental and human impacts while preserving its authenticity and integrity for future generations.