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  • Writer's pictureEryn

The Mysterious Machu Picchu - An Incan Citadel In Peru

A view of the ruins of Machu Picchu on terraced hills and the iconic Peruvian mountains in the distance

I stared at the ground, watching my feet make its way up the steep path as my heartbeat pounded against my ribs. I panted hard, the altitude making it no better for my lungs! After what seemed like forever, we came to a halt and I immediately planted myself on the moist grass. As I began to catch my breath, the mist released its grip on the mountains before us, revealing the ruins of the ancient citadel of Machu Picchu! At a first glance, the Incas’ structures appeared simple and primitive, but the Incan Empire was possibly the largest empire during the 16th century, and we soon realized they had used some of the most advanced technologies of their time!

Machu Picchu is one of the most well-known icons of the Incan Empire and holds examples of how advanced Inca civilization was. It was built in a traditional Inca style, with large pieces of polished stone that fit together like puzzle pieces. Neither cement nor glue was used to hold the grand structures together, and as we wandered around what remains of the fortress, I was so bewildered to see how perfectly they had fitted together! The Incas were literally the inventors of Lego! More than sixty percent of Machu Picchu has been restored and restoration continues, but even in this day and age, we cannot replicate the structures without mortar!

A closeup of a wall in Machu PIcchu and its trapezoidal and rectangular bricks perfectly fitted together
A closeup of a wall in Machu PIcchu and its trapezoidal and rectangular bricks perfectly fitted together

Machu Picchu has been standing here for thousands of years, so it surely has experienced some earthquakes. Natural disasters would've caused a lot of destruction if it weren't for the skilled Incan engineers! They had managed to build their structures in particular ways, making their temples and homes immune to the movement! But what truly makes the Incas special is that they lacked the tools that other civilizations had during the time. The Incas didn't have animals to pull wagons, iron tools, wheeled vehicles, or even a way of writing, and I can't believe they were still able to accomplish so much.

Machu Picchu is mysterious, and we know so little about the mighty fortress and the Incan culture. Hiram Bingham, an American explorer, only found it and brought it to public awareness in 1911, and he was actually looking for a different city! Sixty percent of Machu Picchu’s secrets are still hidden underground, just waiting to be discovered along with so much more of the Incan Empire.


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