Articles tagged with: Hiram Bingham
Machu Picchu was the most magnificent community the Incas built, its name means “Old Mountain” in Quechua. It is believed that Machu Picchu was built around AD1460 by Inca Pachacutec. In 1983 UNESCO added Machu Picchu to its list of World Heritage Sites. Machu Picchu was re discovered in 1911 by HIram Bingham, an American explorer who was searching for Vilcabamba, the last resting place of the Incas. His project was funded by Yale University and National Geographic Society.
The most common conclusion from experts on Inca history and archaeologists is that it was built first and foremost as a retreat for the Inca and his family to worship natural resources, deities and specially the Sun, Inti. In reality things do not have one single purpose and Machu Picchu had a multiplicity of uses and significance.
The city was inhabited for just over one hundred years and no one knows for sure why the Incas abandoned such a magnificent city. It is believed that the civil war between the brothers Atahualpa and Huascar had interrupted the food supply to Machu Picchu. Another possibility is that it was affected by an epidemic that killed its residents.
As a sacred place a lot of planning was put into its construction; priests, architects and engineers studied how the light of the sun and the moon radiated to each mountain and how the stars aligned to each building. Meticulous architectural and engineering planning was required in order to meet religious standards. Lets not forget that Machu Picchu is located in semi tropical land or highland jungle where rain can be intense and earthquakes frequent. Inca engineers had the knowledge to erect anti seismic buildings and ensure at the same time that the land would not erode.