Ministerio del Poder Popular para la Educación
Caracas, Dtto. Capital
The Seven Wonders of the World:
Machu Picchu “La Ciudad Perdida de los Incas”
¿What is Machu Picchu?
Often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas", Machu Picchu is one of the most familiar symbols of the Inca Empire. Machu Picchu was declared aPeruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Since it was not plundered by the Spanish when they conquered the Incas, it is especially important as a cultural site and is considered a sacred place. Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. It's primary buildings are El Intihuatana, el Templo del Sol y la Habitación de lasTres Ventanas. These are located in what is known by archaeologists as the Sacred District of Machu Picchu. In September 2007, Peru and Yale University reached an agreement regarding the return of artifacts which Hiram Bingham had removed from Machu Picchu in the early twentieth century.
The Incas started building it around AD 1430 but was abandoned as an official site for the Inca rulers ahundred years later, at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Although known locally, it was said who to have been forgotten for centuries when the site was brought to worldwide attention in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, an American historian. Since then, Machu Picchu has become an important tourist attraction. It has recently come to light that the site may have been discovered andplundered several years previously, in 1867 by a German businessman, Augusto Berns. In fact, there is substantial evidence that a British missionary, Thomas Payne, and a German engineer, J. M. von Hassel, arrived earlier than Hiram, and maps found by historians show references to Machu Picchu as early as 1874.
On July 7, 2007, Machu Picchu was voted as one of New Open World Corporation's New SevenWonders of the World. The World Monuments Fund placed Machu Picchu on its 2008 Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world because of environmental degradation resulting from the impact of tourism, uncontrolled development in the nearby town of Aguas Calientes that included a poorly sited tram to ease visitor access, and the construction of a bridge across the Vilcanota River that islikely to bring even more tourists to the site in defiance of a court order and government protests against it.
The site received significant publicity after the National Geographic Society devoted their entire April 1913 issue to Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu was designated as a [World Heritage Site] in 1983 when it was described as "an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a uniquetestimony to the Inca civilization".
History of Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu was constructed around 1462, at the height of the Inca Empire. It was abandoned less than 100 years later. It is likely that most of its inhabitants were wiped out by smallpox before the Spanish conquistadores arrived in the area, and there is no record of their having known of the remote city. Hiram Bingham, thecredited discoverer of the site, along with several others, originally hypothesized that the citadel was the traditional birthplace of the Inca of the "Virgins of the Suns".
Another theory maintains that Machu Picchu was an Inca "llacta", a settlement built to control the economy of these conquered regions. Yet another asserts that it may have been built as a prison for a select few who hadcommitted heinous crimes against Inca society. Research conducted by scholars, such as John Rowe and Richard Burger, has convinced most archaeologists that rather than a defensive retreat, Machu Picchu was an estate of the Inca emperor, Pachacuti. In addition, Johan Reinhard presented evidence that the site was selected because of its position relative to sacred landscape features—such as its...