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Machu Picchu Facts for Kids

The amazing ancient marvel of Machu Picchu is located in the Peru mountain range. It was kept concealed and only became known to the western world around the turn of the twentieth century.

In this article, we’ve compiled a list of some interesting Machu Picchu facts. These interesting facts about Machu Picchu for kids will teach you about the Inca civilization and one of the world’s most magnificent architectural accomplishments.

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Some basic Machu Picchu Facts:

Machu Picchu Facts for Kids
  • Name: Machu Picchu
  • Location: Andes Mountains, Cuzco Region, Peru
  • GPS Coordinates: 13°09′48″S 72°32′44″W
  • Building Type: Stone Estate
  • Built: 15th Century
  • Annual Visitors: Over 1.4 million (2017)
  • Annual Revenue: $6 million

Here are some interesting facts and historical information about Machu Picchu:

1. Machu Picchu was called the “Lost City of the Incas,” although it was never truly lost.

Lost City of the Incas

Machu Picchu, perched on top of that mountain, was unseen from below and hence undiscovered by the Spanish. Even though it was overgrown with greenery, the city was always visible to the locals. Many Incan towns were destroyed during the Spanish invasion, but Machu Picchu was preserved because it was concealed. As a result, Machu Picchu is now one of the best-preserved Inca towns.

2. Although Machu Picchu was first discovered in 1911, experts believe it was constructed in the 15th century.

The Spanish did not find Machu Picchu during their occupation of South America. Since no reference to the city can be found in the documents that have survived, it is thought that Machu Picchu was abandoned before the arrival of the Spanish.

Hiram Bingham III, an American historian, discovered Machu Picchu in 1911 while searching for Vilcabamba, a lost Incan city mentioned in Spanish documents. There are various explanations for why Machu Picchu was abandoned, including sickness, starvation, and natural disasters, but no one is certain of the cause. There is no trace of Machu Picchu’s original name; it is called after one of the mountains on which it was built.

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3. Augusto Berns, a German trader, first discovered Machu Picchu in 1867.

Augusto Berns, who traded in Peruvian forests, is credited with being the first westerner to discover Machu Picchu in 1867. He looted the location methodically, bringing significant treasures and artifacts back to Europe and selling them to museums and individual antique collectors. Peruvian historians only discovered Augusto Berns’ finding in 2008.

4. Machu Picchu was built entirely of stones, with no mortar used.

Machu Picchu was built entirely of stones

Each stone block is carefully carved to fit into the next. This masonry technique is known as ashlar, and it involves cutting stone blocks so that they may lock together without needing a binding agent (like mortar).

5. Farmers conducted step farming on Machu Picchu.

Farmers conducted step farming on Machu Picchu

Terraces were land steps cut into the slope in which the mountain’s surface was broken into steps, and crops were produced on the flat area of each step. This brilliant method of farming not only helped them grow crops but was also excellent for irrigation and drought prevention. The Incas freeze-dried food and kept it in special storehouses to ensure there was adequate food all year.

Corn (maize) was a significant crop. A large portion of the food served at Machu Picchu was brought from other regions of the Inca realm.

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6. Machu Picchu is home to Llamas

Machu Picchu is home to Llamas

Llamas are members of the camelid family and are commonly seen in Machu Picchu. They are one of four camelid species endemic to Peru and were primarily utilized as pack animals by the Incas. There are also alpacas, vicuas, and guanacos in addition to llamas. Guanacos and vicuas are still wild, but alpacas, like llamas, are grown in the highlands by people, much like sheep.

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7. Many contemporary archaeologists believe Machu Picchu was a holy location.

The existence of Inca temples in the vicinity of Machu Picchu has led academics to speculate that the site may have a religious significance, citing its closeness to mountains and other physical features revered by the Incas. Machu Picchu may have represented the end of an Inca journey that began in the city of Cusco.

8. Machu Picchu was built by moving stones and earth to level a gap between two mountain peaks.

Experts believe Machu Picchu was constructed in the 15th century, although it was not found until 1911. In order to level the area between two mountain peaks, stones and soil were moved to form the Machu Picchu site. Deep foundations were employed for the structures, and crushed rocks were used for drainage.

9. Peru’s heavy rains have caused flooding in Machu Picchu.

Due to floods induced by severe rain, Machu Picchu was closed between January and April 2010. Over 2,000 visitors were caught by the floodwaters and had to be airlifted out.

Even recently, in January 2022, about 900 people were evacuated from a community near Machu Picchu due to rainfall and floods that left one person missing and numerous homes ruined, according to Peru’s tourist ministry.

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10. Machu Picchu was used as an observatory for astronomy.

Machu Picchu was used as an observatory for astronomy

Astronomy was fundamental to the Inca civilization and helped in the formation of buildings. Astronomy assisted the Incas in identifying seasonal changes that indicated the optimal time for planting and harvesting. The unique Intihuatana stone discovered at Machu Picchu served as an astrological clock and was utilized in rituals.

11. There are various theories as to why Machu Picchu was built.

Historians believe that it was most likely built for more than one cause. It might have been used for any or all of the following purposes: a royal retreat, a sacred site of devotion, a source of exotic items such as certain fruits, animals, and plants, or a defensive stronghold.

12. Machu Picchu is susceptible to earthquakes since Peru is adjacent to a tectonic plate fault line.

Interestingly, it seems that the Inca engineers were aware of it. Because of this, they built a stone foundation, added crushed rock to the open spots, and then covered it with soil. Underground work makes up 60% of Machu Picchu’s structure. It’s amazing that Machu Picchu has endured this long.

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Conclusion

Machu Picchu is an incredible place to visit. There are several interesting Machu Picchu facts that kids would love. We hope you learned something new and fascinating about this historic site.