The citadel of Machu Picchu has had several periods of
occupation. Taken from the chronicles, the construction
style and ceramics found has deducted the following:
Initial Period: 1300 AD
Classic Period: 1400 AD
Imperial Period: 1533 AD
Transition Period: 1533-1572 AD
The story of Machu Picchu
Most modern archaeologists and historians agree that
Machu Picchu was built by the Inca Pachacutec, the
greatest statesman of Tahuantinsuyo, who ruled from 1438
to 1471. Archaeologists assume that the construction of
the citadel would date from the fifteenth century
approximately chronological date given by the carbon-14
The construction of Machu Picchu began when the Inca´s
territory started to grow. According to archaeologists,
in this area was fought the last battle that defined
victory over the Chancas, covering prestigious victory
and gave power to the Inca Pachacutec.
Inca Pachacutec was the first to emerge beyond the
valley of Cusco after his epic victory over the Chancas.
He conducted the Tahuantinsuyo expansion and recognized
it as the "constructor" of Cusco. This was one of his
The origin of Machu Picchu is attributed with some
certainty to Pachacutec, embattled president, which was
characterized by territorial conquests, and the
development of religion and spirituality. From today
there is archaeological studies supportting the theory
that it was a royal estate destined to the cult of the
gods and a challenge to the ruler to built skills.
Built as a refuge for the elite of the Incas
aristocracy, the fortress was located on the eastern
slopes of the Vilcanota mountain range, about 80 miles
from Cusco, the capital of the empire. Its strategic
location was chosen with admirable success. Surrounded
by steep cliffs and away from the sight of strangers in
a tangled forest, the citadel of Machu Picchu had the
quality of having only one narrow entrance, allowing, in
case of a surprise attack,to be defended by very few
Occupied by at least three generations of Incas, Machu
Picchu was abandoned in a sudden and mysterious
decision. The strongest hypothesis explain his
disappearance from the historical memory because that
Machu Picchu was unknown to the lower castes and their
routes prohibited for anyone who was not part of the
small circle of the Inca.
Part of the gains of the valley included Pachacútec
Tampu, despite being inhabited by that sister nation of
Cusco, did not escape his iron rule. Natural beauty,
mild climate (one of the best in the Andes) and rich
soil, Pachacutec noticed Tampu favorite settlement of
the new imperial nobility, gracing the valley with
several of the most magnificent cities Tahuantinsuyo as
Ollantaytambo and Machu Picchu. Site selection for
lifting Machu Picchu must have been made with great
care, as it was, and still is, a great place to raise a
ceremonial center. It was located, according to
researcher Antonio Zapata, the largest mountain by its
sacredness, which begins in the Salcantay (The Apus,
greater spirit) and ends at the
It was a privileged to observe the movement of the stars
and the sun, The Inca´s deities.
Furthermore, according to their research, the place had
a quarry nearby that could provide the finest white
July 24th, 1911 is known as the date of the "discovery"
of the famous Inca citadel of Machu Picchu,
architectural treasure that had been hidden for more
than four centuries under the lush nature of the
Urubamba canyon. This discovery was made by
controversial anthropologist, historian or simply by the
American explorer, amateur archeology, Yale University
professor Hiram Bingham.
Although the discovery points to Bingham, the researcher
of Cusco, Simone Waisbard said that the finding was the
result of a chance, since Enrique Palma, Gabino Sánchez,
and Agustín Lizarraga, were the first to visit these
archaeological remains on those stones and they left
their names recorded on July 14th, 1901. And also
because the English archaeologist was looking in that
moment at Vitco City, the last refuge of the Incas and
the last point of resistance against the Spanish. So the
discovery of Bingham would reduce the spread of the fact
to science. However, to its main protagonist until this
day was not the result of chance, but a strenuous
investigation based on information supplied by peasants,
as well as several years of travel and exploration in
Before that Machu Picchu´s discovery is likely to be
part of the estates and Kutija Qollapani. Over the years
the property was known as a Q `property unit. Palma
,Sanchez and Lizarraga found the indigenous Anacleto
living in the place.Alvarez, who had cultivated the land
during eight years ago was leased for twelve soles
The owners of the estate could never have known meter by
meter all over the place because of its large size and,
especially, by its topography as rugged and irregular.
People did indeed know of Machu Picchu and even lived in
it, but they had no idea of his greatness and of how
important it was. When they left it alone they had the
opportunity to make it known to the world.
While the rediscovery of the citadel is attributed to
the American historian Hiram Bingham, there are sources
that indicate that Agustin Lizarraga, a tenant of Cuzco
homelands came to the ruins nine years before the
historian . According to Hiram Bingham, Lizarraga would
have left an inscription in one of the walls of the
Temple of the Three Windows. This registration would
have been subsequently deleted.
Lizarraga's story and his visits to the ancient Inca
ruins have attracted the attention of Hiram Bingham, who
was in the area investigating the last holdouts of the
Inca´s in Vilcabamba. Bingham, very interested in these
rumors, began the search for these ruins, reaching Machu
Picchu in Cuzco.Lessee company Melchor Arriaga and a
sergeant of the Peruvian Civil War in July 1911. There,
the American historian would find two families, the
Recharte and Alvarez, who had settled in the platforms
of the south of the ruins. It was finally a child of the
family who guided Recharte Bingham to the "urban area"
of the ruins, which was covered by thick undergrowth.
Immediately, Bingham understood the enormous historical
value of the ruins discovered and contacted Yale
University, the National Geographic Society and the
Peruvian government, requesting sponsorship to start the
studies in the Inca archaeological site. The
archaeological work was carried out from 1912 to 1915.
In this period, they managed to clear the weeds that
outrigger the Citadel and the Inca tombs were excavated
being found beyond the city walls.
In 1913, National Geographic magazine published in an
extensive article of Machu Picchu and the jobs that were
done there, revealing to the world the citadel. With the
passing of the years, the importance of tourism in the
citadel of Machu Picchu would grow, first nationally and
then internationally, becoming a World Heritage Site by
Unesco in 1983.
Machu Picchu nowadays.
Machu Picchu was designated one of the New Seven Wonders
of the World in 2007, Machu Picchu is Peru´s most
visited attraction and South America’s most famous
ruins, welcoming hundreds of thousands of people a year.
Increasing tourism, the development of nearby towns and
environmental degradation continue to take their toll on
the site, which is also home to several endangered
species. As a result, the Peruvian government has taken
steps to protect the ruins and prevent erosion of the
mountainside in recent years.
When you think of Machu Picchu, one of the first names
that comes to our minds is Hiram Bingham, but few
persons know who Agustín Lizárraga is, one of the
unrecognized discovers of the Sanctuary.
1.- Machu Picchu and the new findings
Is Machu Picchu considered a Ruin?
The city of Machu Picchu conserved many of its original
structures, expressed on the zones that were chosen by
Pachacutec, he found a granite plateau where many people
started a very expensive and ambitious project, built a
citadel that would last forever.
They knew how to take advantage of the ground that
sometimes was so difficult to measure and prevent
earthquakes and other calamities. The use of stones like
Basalt, andesite and many other kind of stones that made
it so resistant for many natural disasters.
These stones were brought from a place called the
Batholitic of Vilcabamba, where all the stones were cut
and brought to the Sanctuary and also to build the city
of Cusco when the Spanish conquer arrived to these
The constructions made in Machu Picchu, correspond to a
specific kind of mandate of the Pachacutec Inca, who
wants to preserved the environment and the ecology. It
is well known that the Incas never knew the wheel, but
it is not hard to understand that in this place the
wheel never worked because of the land and the
inclination of the site, because many people say that
how is that possible that few men could bring from a
long distance huge blocks of stone already cut so
perfectly that when they were put on top of each other,
not even a hair could pass between them.
Every construction made in Machu Picchu has a specific
function: Religious, administrative, politic and social,
the two most important was the religious and the
administrative, because the religious part was the
everyday ritual of their life and transit over Machu
Picchu, and the administrative part,was because every
product must pass by the control of the guardians that
kept very safe the Sanctuary and the Tambos, the
storages that kept all of the products that grew in the
Why Ruins and not Amazing work of engineering?
Machu Picchu is considered as one of the seven modern
wonders of the world, because of its amazing
construction, but the name ruin is not the adequate,
ruin is a place where everything is about to collapse or
fall down, it is not the case of Machu Picchu: Take the
example of some of the sites in Europe, the Roman Forum,
the Parthenon, they are ruins because the state of the
construction, but for many people is not a ruin, is a
sign of the greatness of the ancient world, and this
ancient world is the legacy for many people.
Sincerely that the word ruin is not the accurate word to
describe Machu Picchu.
The word Sanctuary describes very well the complex of
Machu Picchu, because in that place many rituals and
sacrifices were offered to calm and maintain happy one
of the most important deities of the Tahuantinsuyo: The
Sun, their father, their creator. It is not coincidence
that Machu Picchu was built over high altitude, the
reason is that they felt closer to the sky, and closer
to their God.
The status of modern wonder has to be our pride because
is our responsibility that Machu Picchu keeps the
category of that, competing with the Giza Pyramids, the
The Temple and many others, The National Institute of
Culture (INC) is the organization that fights to keep
the Machu Picchu culture and legacy alive, showing us
that this Sanctuary is one of its kind, there will not
be another Machu Picchu and that must put us in the
position of not destroying our national and world
2) The real name of Machu Picchu: Patallaqta
Patallaqta comes from two words in Quechua, Pata which
means steps, and Llaqta, which means town, this name
comes from the way that the constructions were settle,
initially the Machu Picchu complex is going to function
to administrated the place, but its importance caught
the eyes of Pachacutec, who saw that this place could be
a Sanctuary and a pilgrimage place.
A Spanish Historian, Mari Carmen Rubio, said that this
name comes from the chronicles written by Juan de
Betanzos in the XVI century, saying that Pachacutec was
buried in this Sanctuary, Here is the reason why
Betanzos said that: Every Inca was buried in the
Coricancha Temple (The temple of the sun) but according
to Betanzos, Pachacutec was buried in Patallaqta and his
rests were left in a crock pot.
But the story is not ending here, because the Incas
always made 2 bundles, one was taken to the Coricancha
and the other to a special place where nobody expect.
Some priests could worship the rest of the body.
Pachacutec was like the south American Alexander the
great, a man who conquered many territories and was one
of the few governors who arrived to the jungle, an
unknown territory but very fertile to grow many
Now, the name Machu Picchu comes from the Spanish word
Pico (Peak) and the word to describe a mountain is Orqo,
is not its original name, it was a Spanish way to
mention this place, and the name itself could have been
invented in the republican time.
Federico Kauffman Doig, one of the most important
Archaeologists said that Machu Picchu is the way that
the people of these places in their very poor Spanish
were referring to the Sanctuary. He said that the real
and original name is not Patallaqta, is Llaqta Pata,
because that is the correct way to pronounce it in the
When Hiram Bingham arrived to the city of Cusco, they
told him that one of these places, where the people
lived for centuries was called Llactapacta, a place near
to where Bingham found Machu Picchu. According to Mari
Carmen Martin, this place was never abandoned and maybe
that’s why this place never lost its original name.
Llactapacta was indeed a royal house, in modern terms it
could be a mansion where Pachacutec might have lived in
the XV century, Llactapacta also is known as the town
¨above¨ ( Llaqta-place, Pacta-Steps or altitude).
The Spanish Historian found in 1987,82 chapters of the
Chronicle of Juan de Betanzos called Suma y Narración de
los Incas, written in 1551, who relates about the
organization of the Incas at that time.
Other fact is that Machu Picchu has many names used by
the local natives, one of them is Vitcos, and more
recently is Cajaroma, the last one comes from the
Betanzos chronicle, who mentioned that this city could
be the real Machu Picchu, because according to Betanzos
this is one of the many cities that Pachacutec conquered
when he was the governor of the Tahuantinsuyo Empire,
but also this could be the land of a jungle tribe that
lived when Pachacutec had the control of the entire
There are many theories about the real name of Machu
Picchu but Cajaroma needs to be investigated to get a
conclusion and finally know which was the real name of
3) The Qeschawaka Bridge, ancestral legacy
The Qeschawaka Bridge, That connects Qehue with Canas,
two of the most important provinces in the Cusco
department, is now an issue for its conservation and
protection. The bridge crosses the Apurimac River, was
an important river for the Inca people many centuries
ago, its name comes from the words Qeswa, which means
twisted cord, and Chaka which means bridge.
The material used for this bridge is the Ichu, a kind of
grass that grows around the highland, this material is
dried by the sun and then is used to make some kind of
rope to built the bridge.
Every year many natives of the Cusco Communities like
Chaupibanda, Qehue and Canas gather around the bridge
and start an ancestral ritual called Minka, that consist
in doing some community work that is going to be useful
to every person who lives around the river.
This kind of material is used by the locals and more
effective than the stone or other kind of materials,
because it´s easier to rebuilt the bridge, and also
avoid disasters such as earthquakes and other
The Minka lasts 4 days and the main event was the
reconstruction of the bridge, which gathered the people
who lived in the nearby provinces, after that they
celebrated it with dances and drinks for the people who
participated of this ancient ritual.
This renovation of the bridge is considered since the
year 2009 like a National Heritage, this is an example
of the legacy that the Incas left to their generations,
and also mentioned the effective and simple technology
of the Tahuantinsuyo people.
Why is it important to maintain the tradition alive?
One city without its past is a dead city; without no
memory a city could not see what its legacy is, and what
is worse, they can’t see what its future is. The
tradition, the rituals are a huge part of who we are and
recreates our past to keep in touch with our ancestors
and see where are we from.
Recreating the construction of the bridge is important
because it keeps the people together and the
relationships between them are closer with the pass of
time. Women, men and children work for their community,
they built the bridge as many times as they need it.
The Minka is practiced since Inca times, it’s one of the
precepts in the moral and ethics that the Incas had,
their phrases don’t be a thief, don’t be a liar, don’t
be lazy is one of the codes more used in the Andes. The
Incas were a culture with so much support between each
other, no one is selfish, and everybody contributes to
the improvement of each citizen.
Pachacutec, Lord of the Tahuantinsuyo Empire
It all starts with a single person, who transforms the
entire Tahuantinsuyo Territory, with his bravery and
strength he began to create one of the most important
Empires in the History of the world, this person is
The Inca Emperor.
Machu Picchu, the untold story
Two persons, one History in common: being recognized
as the first who visited the Sanctuary, one is a local
native, who always knew about the place, the other an
North American adventurer that with a little luck and
good contacts was able to show the entire humanity one
of the most beautiful sanctuaries in the History. But
behind that there are a lot of things that you must
Machu Picchu, The untold Story, an encounter
with 2 persons with one thing in common: Remain as the
original discoverers of this great place.
Ayar Brothers legend
Many of the stories that an ancient town tells us, is
about power, big decisions and fantastic habilities,
The Ayar Brothers Legend
tells us how Manco Capac remained as the supreme chief
of all the Inca Empire.
The Legend of Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo
Is the classic story: Two persons, a man and a
woman, a supreme entity that sent them to populate one
The Legend of Manco Capac and Mama
Ocllo narrates the story of an ancient
group, the founders of one of the most powerful and
organized cultures: The Incas and their Empire the
Religious significance in Machu Picchu
Sanctuary is full of cosmic and universal symbolism, but
one of the most important aspects is their
religious significance in Machu
Picchu, with several and particular ways
of understanding the universe that Machu Picchu is.