10 things you didn't know about Machu Picchu!
Hidden away in the dramatic countryside northwest of Cuzco, Peru, the ancient city of Machu Picchu stands proud, built in the height of the Inca Empire and abandoned just over a century later, what do we really know about this world famous settlement?
1. ‘Machu Picchu’ literally translates to ‘old mountain’—which is really not very enigmatic!
2. On July 24, 1911, American explorer Hiram Bingham III with the help of Melchor Arteaga, re-discovered Machu Picchu, however it’s thought Bingham was actually looking for a different lost city! He was looking for Vilcabamba, the hidden capital that the Inca fled to in order to escape Spanish conquistadors in 1532. He thought Macchu Picchu WAS Vilcabamba until years later.
3. Porters, who often have to sleep on the trail in tents, hide shiny metal mirrors underneath them to ward off ancient spirits within the earth!
4. Machu Picchu is built on 2 fault lines. However, the construction protects it whenever Peru suffers an earthquake. It is said that the stones of Machu Picchu jump and “dance” during any seismic activity, before falling back into the correct position!
5. To help conserve the ruins, there is a limit of only 2,500 people per day allowed on the site. That includes porters and everyone so let Tango Tours book you in to visit the site!
6. Machu Picchu's construction is amazing considering the Inca's did not use draft animals, iron tools, or even the wheel! It's a mystery how the massive blocks of stone were moved up steep terrain and through dense bush.
7. Every year marathon runners race along the 26-mile long Inca Trail. The fastest time is 3-hours and 26-minutes, which is impressive seeing as it stands at 1,430m above sea level!
8. You will be denied admittance to Machu Picchu if you try to enter wearing traditional attire of another country—that means no kimonos, kilts, or dirndls!
9. Archaeologists blame a small pox epidemic, brought to Machu Picchu by Spanish Conquistadors, for killing the original population.
10. Most visitors race to arrive before dawn to be one of the first 400 people eligible to climb the famed Huayna Picchu peak. But lesser known is Machu Picchu Mountain, which lies at the opposite end of the site and is twice as tall at 1,640 feet.
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