History/Facts of Machu Pichu in Peru.

Essay by betoberto December 2004

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The ruins of Machu Picchu is in the Urubamba province in Peru. It is located high in the Andes Mountains at an alititude of 2,350 metres above sea level at the top of a ridge, hiding it from a gorge below. The ridge is between a block of highland. The surrounding area is covered in dense bush.

Machu Picchu, means "manly peak" or "old peak". It is believed to have been a royal estate and religious retreat for the Incan people. It was built between 1460 and 1470 AD by an Incan ruler, Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui. It is comprised of about 200 buildings, most being residences, although there are temples, storage structures and other public buildings. It is believed that 1,200 people lived in and around Machu Picchu, most of them women, children, and priests.

The buildings are thought to have been planned and built under Inca architects.

Most of the structures are built of granite blocks cut with stone tools, and smoothed with sand. The blocks fit together perfectly without mortar, although none of the blocks are the same size and have many faces. The joints are so tight that even the thinnest of knife blades can't be forced between the stones.

The houses had steep thatched roofs and trapezoidal doors. Some of the houses were two stories tall; the second story was probably reached by ladder, which likely was made of rope since there weren't many trees at Machu Picchu's altitude. The houses, in groups of up to ten gathered around a communal courtyard, or aligned on narrow terraces, were connected by narrow alleys. At the center were large open squares; livestock enclosures and terraces for growing maize stretched around the edge of the city.

One of the most important things found at Machu Picchu...