History of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is an Incan ceremonial site in a spectacular location high in the Andes.

Machu Picchu is a fabulous Incan ruin found high in the Andes Mountains near Cuzco in southern Peru. Most modern archaeologists and historians feel that Machu Picchu was built in the mid-1400’s by the Incas as a ceremonial center for the worship of Incan gods.

The site is made up of single buildings arranged in groups along streets, adjacent to plazas and terraces. Most of the buildings are residences. Some of the buildings, which must have been for special purposes, are partly carved into the bedrock and partly built from finely cut white granite.

Machu Picchu is hidden in the deep jungle by the steep cliffs surrounding it. It has only one narrow entry point, which meant the site would be easily defensible by only a handful of warriors in case of a surprise attack.

Occupied by at least three generations of Incas, the fortress of Machu Picchu was abandoned in a sudden and mysterious way. The most likely theories explain its disappearance by the fact that its existence was unknown to the lower castes, and all but the small circle of the Inca’s immediate entourage were forbidden to approach it.

Because of this, Machu Picchu remained hidden for centuries before being rediscovered by Hiram Bigam in 1911. It is now considered one of the Seven Wonders of the World and is visited by thousands of tourists each year.


The only way to reach Macchu Pichu is to hike through the mountains or take a train through a narrow canyon.
There are many houses still intact in the ancient city.
Alpaca roam the grounds of Macchu Pichu.
For spectacular views of the entire area, climb one of the surrounding mountains.

books by Nancy Sathre-Vogel

About Nancy Sathre-Vogel

After 21 years as a classroom teacher, Nancy Sathre-Vogel finally woke up and realized that life was too short to spend it all with other people's kids. She and her husband quit their jobs and, together with their twin sons, climbed aboard bicycles to see the world. They enjoyed four years cycling as a family - three of them riding from Alaska to Argentina and one exploring the USA and Mexico. Now they are back in Idaho, putting down roots, enjoying life at home, and living a different type of adventure. It's a fairly sure bet that you'll find her either writing on her computer or creating fantastical pieces with the beads she's collected all over the world.

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