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Machu Picchu

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Machu Picchu



Machu Picchu has always been a mystery to scientists because the Incas never left any records of their history, but yet a very sacred monument still remains untouched. Machu Picchu is located In Cuzco, Peru and is between two high mountain peaks. It spreads over 13 square kilometers and has more than 3,000 steps that made many different levels around Machu Picchu. They believe that 1,200 people lived there. Machu Picchu is placed on the Andes Mountain and is 2,438 feet above sea level. Since it was so high up it was very hard for other empires to find them and get to them. Back then there was only one way to get up to Machu Picchu, which was the Inca Trail, and it was a very long walk to get to Machu Picchu. Machu Picchu was also surrounded by a lot of forest and trees that helped hide Machu Picchu from the rest of the world, this helped preserve the empire.

No one really knows how Machu Picchu was build but they know that the stones they used to build the city was said to be impossible to lift. The stones used were put on top of each other in a certain way that it is impossible for it to move.  They didn’t use any sort of glue to hold the stones together either. Most of the stones were fit so well that not even a credit card could go between them. Archeologist believed that the Inca would use ramps to move the boulders all over Machu Picchu for constructing.  They also think that they would put the lager stones on smaller stones so that the smaller stones could act as rollers to move the larger boulders. The rocks they used to build were taken from granite rock. Historians assume that one of the main reasons they picked their location to be on a mountain was because it was near this rock quarry. This made moving rocks and boulders in Machu Picchu a lot easier, since it was already nearby.  The Incas used Bronze and silver tools to build their grand structures. Some tools they used were shaped like axes, crowbars, and knives.  It took a lot of time and skill to be able to build the incredible city of Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu was important to the Incas because it was their home and the gods sent them there so they could create an important empire. It was said that the Incas would go to Machu Picchu to rest and relax. They would also have their queens and princesses staying in the temples there. Lastly they would go there to pray and connect to the gods. One of the reasons they picked this location because it was difficult to find and was separated from the normal cities in Cuzco. It also had gold, which was very important to them. Machu Picchu was also very significant to them because it was their secret ceremonial city. Machu Picchu was also a great place for them to observe astronomy and it was very vital to them.

The Incas where very skilled at stone carving and they made the stones look like soft rounded pillows. In one of the walls called the Artisan’s wall they used different sized stones that made a complicated mosaic. They used rocks to make the stairs in Machu Picchu, which were used to link temples, fountains, and houses. The Inca would also make drains in the walls so that Machu Picchu would never flood from the rain that fell 70 inches each year. They created canals to carry water from the top of the mountain to the urban sector, the canals would carry around 80 gallons of water a minute and the canals were about 5 inches wide and 2,457 feet long. The canals were so well built, that only 2 of the canals don’t work in Machu Picchu after several hundreds of years. Many canals in Machu Picchu would bring water to the fountains all around the city; they were built out of stones and have a small opening for a steam of water. They had a small basin for the water to be collected and a hole in the basin for the water to leave. The Canals would locate the cleanest water from the fountain at the Temple of the Sun and the Royal residence, because the Inca would always make sure that the emperor and the most significant temple would receive the cleanest water. Even after creating grand buildings, canals, and fountains the Inca were able to build a draining technique for Machu Picchu. They would build a dry moat around the site and that would catch any overflowing water from canals and the land from the heavy rain.

Machu Picchu was separated into 3 major parts which were agriculture, urban area, and religious area. The terracing, farming and aqueducts would be on the slopes of Machu Picchu and they would only use this area to grow crops. Since Machu Picchu was located on a steep mountain they would use terracing to create flat land. The terracing worked so well that some people were still using some of them till today.  Incas made terracing which had many different layers. They would first lay large stones deep into the land and then covered them with small stones and gravel. Next they would place the soil on the large stones. They would get the soil from the river and out them in baskets that they made. The Inca would have walls supporting the soil and stones in place. The wall would also help drain the terraces so that it would intact the soil. The buildings, houses, temples, and fountains were all in the urban areas. They had teachers and farmer that live there which was located on the lower lands. Lastly the religious area would be located at the crust of the hill and you could see the Urubamba valley thousands of feet below.



Works Cited


Websites and books:

“A Brief Overview.” Destination:Machu Picchu. N.p., 2005. Web. 16 Jan. 2010. <http://www.peru-machu-picchu.com/‌index.php>.


“Machu Picchu.” Fact Monster. N.p., 2007. Web. 16 Jan. 2010. <http://www.factmonster.com/‌ce6/‌sci/‌A0830941.html>.


“Machu Picchu, Peru.” Places of Peace and Power. N.p., 2009. Web. 18 Jan. 2010. <http://www.sacredsites.com/‌americas/‌peru/‌machu_picchu.html>.

Silate, Jennifer. The Inca Ruins of Machu Picchu. Detroit: Thomson, 2006. Print.




Machu Picchu. N.d. jaunted. N.p., n.d. Web. 21 Jan. 2010. <http://www.jaunted.com/‌tag/‌Travel%20Warnings>.

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