The Inca city of Machu Picchu has acquired an unprecedented historical relevance. In fact, it is one of the most visited places in all of Latin America. But have you ever wondered what these ruins really are?
So if you’re planning a trip to Peru, you should expect it to be a must-see during your adventure.
Here’s a quick rundown of the history of Machu Picchu, so you’ll be well-informed on your next Machu Picchu tour.
Origins of Machu Picchu
It is believed that Machu Picchu, called Vilcabamba at the time, was built around 1450 during the Inca period and was an important urban and religious centre. It is known to have been inhabited by a population of between 300 and 1000 people, most of whom were engaged in agriculture.
The city was erected, inhabited, and abandoned in less than 100 years, and was covered by dense vegetation, leaving the city hidden for thousands of years. And although its function remains an enigma today, it is believed to have been a sacred centre for the initiation of Inca ritual experts.
The discovery of the ruins
It was then that the site began to be studied in-depth. Archaeological excavations were carried out and the tombs of the citadel were explored, where hundreds of carvings, clothing, ceramics… were found.
However, it was not until the middle of the 20th century that roads and railways were built and Machu Picchu was opened to visitors from all over the world.
Machu Picchu today
Since 1981 Machu Picchu has been considered a ‘Historic Sanctuary of Peru’, a designation that protects both the archaeological site and the flora and fauna that inhabit it. Since 1983 it is ‘Cultural Heritage of Humanity’ and more recently, since 2007 it is one of the new ‘7 Wonders of the Modern World’.
No wonder it is the most visited place in all of Peru, with almost 1.5 million visitors a year. In fact, there are thousands of ways to visit it, by train, by taking an excursion such as the famous Inca Trail… All equally incredible!
Now that you know what it is and know a little more about the history of Machu Picchu… you certainly don’t want to miss it!