The Incan city of Machu Picchu in South America was named the new wonder of the world at a ceremony in Lisbon in 2007. In memory of this event, people annually celebrate the day of Machu Picchu on July 7th. A decree was signed by Peruvian President Alan Garcia two years ago for the annual celebrations.
Machu Picchu (quechua: Machu Pikchu, in translation – “Old Mountain”) is a city of ancient America that is located high in the Andes on the territory of modern Peru.
Machu Picchu is often referred to as “The City in the sky,” “The City in the Clouds,” and “The Lost City of the Incas.”
Some archaeologists believe that this city was established as a sacred mountain shelter by the great Incan emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). The Incas started building the city around 1400 AD but it was abandoned as an official site for the Incan rulers a century later at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Incan Empire.
All inhabitants of the city mysteriously disappeared in 1532. The city was re-discovered by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911.
According to UNESCO, the city of Machu Picchu is one of the 10 most important archeological sites in the world.
The ruins of Machu Picchu are composed of about 200 structures including temples, residences, storage houses and other buildings for domestic needs.
Most part of the structures consist of stone blocks which were cut to fit together tightly without any mortar.
It is thought that there were more than 1,200 people living in and around Machu Picchu. They worshiped Inti – the sun god and cultivated the land on the terraces.
It was necessary to be highly skilled to build a city in such an inconvenient place. Civil engineer Kenneth Wright and archaeologist Alfredo Valencia Zegarra thought that more than half of the efforts that the masters spent on building the settlement were spent on the preparation of the ground, drainage and foundation. Massive retaining walls and stepped terraces have been supporting the city for over 500 years already. They did not let downpours or landslides sweep it away from the rocks.
After Machu Picchu was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, it turned into a popular touristic place. More than 2,000 tourists visit Machu Picchu daily. UNESCO insists on reducing the amount of tourists to 800 people per day to save one of the most beautiful monuments in the world.