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Machu Picchu and the lost city of the Incas

Machu Picchu

After the conquest of Peru by the Spaniards, the rebellious Inca Manka Cover II secretly went out of the Cuzco and settled northwest of Olantaytambo in the depths of the jungle, where they founded the city called Vilkabamba.

After many years of battles with Inca in 1572 the Spaniards attacked Vilkabamba and returned to the last Inca Tupac Amaro (successor and half brother of Manka) in Cuzco, Where he was executed.

Over time, the location of the abandoned city Vilkabamba was forgotten. For it is mentioned only in some not quite accurate maps and Spanish chronicles. Hiram Bingham, who holds a Ph.D. in philosophy and history at Yale University, remains fascinated by Inca, archeology and history of the lost cities after his first visit to Peru in 1909

In 1911 he returned with the expedition, which headed to the jungle in the direction of the valley Urubamba in search of lost cities. The ruins of Inca and possibly its untold treasures were located somewhere in this part of Peru. Almost immediately, the group discovers one of the spearhead Inca places which they named Patallacta.

Abandoned by most of the group, Bingham climbed the steep mountains, where he met two locals who took him to an ancient place. Bingham believed that he fell the last stronghold of the rebel Inca, and that Vilkabamba was finally accounted for. This "discovery" remains unchallenged for the next 50 years, while the error of Bingham, has not been confirmed by Gene Savoy in 1964, when he discovers what most people agree that the real ruins of Vilkabamba in Espirito Pampa, after a 4 or 5 days trek further into the jungle.

However back to Bingham, who the next year returned to open its site, naming it Machu Picchu to begin the clearing of the ruins of vegetation, a job that lasted 3 years. During that time, they found many potteries, stone objects and bones. In 1981 an area of about 325 square miles around Machu Picchu was declared a historic monument by Peruvian Government and was granted the status of World Heritage by UNESCO in 1983

Machu Picchu Peru

The mystery remains, if Machu Picchu is not the lost city Vilkabamba, then which one is? The only plausible explanation is that Machu Picchu has been abandoned before the invasion of the Spaniards, and that during the Spanish conquest Inca are also not aware of its existence.

Archaeologists agree that the style of the buildings in Machu Picchu are "late imperial", and was popular during the reign of Pachakutek. If indeed the city was abandoned before the Spanish invasion, it means that the establishment, development and abandonment was developing for approximately 100 years.

A more recent view is that rather than be seen in isolation Machu Picchu was perhaps forming a ceremonial, and possibly an administrative center of a large and densely populated area. Recent data presented by archaeologist J. Rowe testify that Machu Picchu was built as a "royal estate" for Pachakutek and inhabited by his family clans. The location probably was chosen because of its unique location, the city is surrounded by jungle and mountains Salkantay, Pomasilo and Veronica, and overlooking the River Vilkanota, a position that the religion of Inca was considered to be sacred.

Construction of Machu Picchu could be associated with several secondary targets simultaneously, as an observation post on the road to Cuzco by Antisio or an Amazon pool of a protected source of coca, used in all aspects of religion Inca, Including sacrifices, sorcery and in medicine.

Evidence suggests that Machu Picchu was built with 200 buildings and had a permanent population of around 1, 000 people.

Abandonment of Machu Picchu may simply be explained by the death of Pachakutek and construction of a new "royal estate" for the next Inca reign, as was the custom.