Machu Picchu, which translates from an ancient South American indigenous language as “old peak” is the ruin of a city high in the mountains of Peru. It is associated with the Inca civilization and often called the “lost city of the Incas”. Though obviously inhabited in ancient times, Machu Picchu is a relatively recent archeological find because it had been forgotten by all except indigenous local peoples. It was rediscovered around the turn of the twentieth century. Though the site was originally thought to be purely religious in nature, recent archeological finds point to the idea of its being a resort: a palace and surrounding compound, including temples, for Incan rulers. About twelve hundred people probably inhabited the site at any one time (Wikipedia).
Machu Picchu is a large archeological site comprised of many structures. Though ideas as to what exactly its function or place in Inca society was tend to vary, current archeological thought says that Machu Picchu is divided into three main areas or districts: The Sacred District, so-called because it contains several temples, the Popular District, and the Royalty District, where it is thought that priests and nobility resided. The city was likely built in the 15th century by the Emperor Pachacutec, and abandoned when the Spanish missionaries in the area brought an outbreak of smallpox that would likely have killed off much of Machu Picchu’s population.
All of the more than one hundred and forty buildings in the districts are made using the same architecture, a distinctive technique that helped researchers conclusively identify the site as Incan. The buildings are all made of stone, tightly fit together without any mortar, which is classic Inca style. The mystery is how the Incans managed to do this, since we have no evidence that they used the wheel: how did they move the giant blocks? The site also features many stone staircases, some carved right into the sides of mountains.
How did Machu Picchu...