Machu Picchu, one of the greatest touristic attractions in the world still has its little secrets, despite being visitied by a great number of tourists every year. Find out what the Inca people, nature or modern civilization hid at the Machu Picchu site:

1.  The Lost city of Inca was actually not Machu Picchu

Hiram Bingham III was the explorer who discovered Machu Picchu in 1911. He was actually looking for of Vilcamba which was a hidden capital that Inca used as a refuge after the arrival of the Spanish conquistadors in 1532, when he came across the magnificent Machu Picchu. Bingham spent all his life up to that moment trying to find the lost city of Vilcabamba and since then, trying to prove that Machu Picchu was actually the lost city of Inca.

2. Earthquakes have no effect on it

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Peru is one country where earthquakes are not unusual. Inca builders had their ways of constructing the magnificent masterpieces that we all heard about so that they would resist any earthquake: Inca constructions did not use any type of mortar, but rather, a technique based on perfect size precision. This bricks were cut with such accuracy that they fitted perfectly in their location, in such a way that not even a credit card could penetrate. When an earthquake occurs, the bricks “dance” but do not fall. This one of the reasons why Machu Picchu, and many other Inca sites are still standing.

3. What is hidden in the underground?

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Not treasures if this is what you were expected, but rather underground engineering projects which surprise most of the people who see them. Apparently, it was in the underground that most of the work at Machu Picchu was carried out. The great majority of this work is made out of the buildings’ foundation and crushed stones which were used as a drainage system. Machu Picchu inhabitants really needed it, since during the wet season, this place becomes quite wet.

4. Forget about the bus and walk!

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Even though the trip to Machu Picchu is expensive, one does not need to add the bus trip from the base of the hill to the top of it: it is much more beautiful to walk all the way up. Those who are able to make the trip on foot should know that the views are of an amazing beauty, and that the path fallows the steps of the Machu Picchu discoverer, Hiram Bingham who made this trip for the same time in 1911.

5. The hidden museum

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Once the tourists arrive at the Machu Picchu site, he is puzzle by the lack of information: no signs, no panels to give explanations about the ruins. Museo de Sitio Manuel Chávez Ballón is filling all the gaps in one’s knowledge, but tourists usually do not know not only how to find it but, most importantly, that is even there. However, the facility does exist: it is located at the end of a long rudimentary road,  near the base of the site.

6. The second peak

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The first 400 people who enter the site are the lucky ones who will get to climb the Huayna Picchu, probably Peru’s most famous peak. No one bothers to look at the opposite side where a second peak, the Machu Picchu Mountain is rising. This is actually much taller than the first and also offers its random viewers amazing sights of the surrounding area.

7.  The secret temple

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One of the Machu Picchu’s best kept secret is the Temple of the Moon. Those of you who do get to climb on Huayna Picchu should not leave it without visiting the hidden temple, on the far side of the peak. It is a mysterious place and the shrine, together with the niches shaped directly into the stone of the cave that shelters the shrine, will spook you a little bit.

8.  Not everything was yet discovered

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After walking around the ruins, you might notice the paths that lose themselves into the thick , impenetrable vegetation. No one knows where they lead. Other ruins might wait behind the ever growing vegetation for someone who discovers them.

9.  The site’s orientation

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The location of the construction was not chosen randomly. It was actually determined by the location of the nearby sacred mountains. Both the location and the orientation of the main buildings were highly influenced by these mountains, which have an important role in Inca cosmology.

10. The Spiritual trip to Machu Picchu

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A recent study shows that the trip from Cusco to Machu Picchu may have had a spiritual signification and was meant to imitate the celestial journey of the first Inca from the Island of the Sun, in Lake Titicaca. Thus, Machu Picchu could have been a place of pilgrimage while the famous Inca trail may have represented, impressively looking but impractical, could have had the purpose of preparing pilgrims for entering Machu Picchu


National Geographic

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