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What was the function of Machu Picchu?

The people who built Machu Picchu, must have had incredible reasons to build a city with such fantastic details, in a place as inaccessible as the Machu Picchu Mountain; Many of the details of its construction are still unresolved mysteries, which attract not only scholars but visitors from around the world.

There are many speculations and theories about the construction and function that this city fulfilled during its apogee. But most scholars agree that Machu Picchu was a sacred place, in which its inhabitants worshiped the four elements, and other entities, animals and stars, which also considered gods, especially the Sun.

Sacred place and refuge of the Inca Pachacutec

It is known that Machu Picchu was a sacred place in which the Incas worshiped their gods, but that would not have been the only use they gave the Inca City; It is known that it was also used as a kind of retreat for the Inca Pachacútec and his family. A city that due to its location possessed an ideal climate to cultivate an enormous variety of plants; among which would be the coca leaf and the grass that softens the rocks.

Climate study location

The entire territory of Machu Picchu is flooded with rivers, rock formations (pebbles), springs and mountains, which were sacred to the Incas; In this place, the priests, in addition to worshiping the Inti (Sun God), observed their position with respect to the four cardinal points, being able to determine the climatic seasons of the territory. Presumably, this observation should have influenced greatly when deciding the location of the city, as well as the location of each of the buildings present in this Inca City. Understanding about the culture and religion of this civilization will help you better understand the mysteries of this amazing and mystical stone city.

Source of exotic products

The proximity to the jungle makes it possessor of amazing ecosystems, which serve as habitat to innumerable species of animals and plants. The jungle was the main source of rare items, which were much appreciated in the symbols of the Incas, such as colorful feathers, butterflies, birds, exotic fruits and vegetables; as well as, the coca leaf and other healing and hallucinogenic plants. Most of them entered here, to the opposite side of the empire; to be used in religious ceremonies and to be distributed to the other territories (theirs) of the empire.

Astronomical Observatory

Machu Picchu is also known as the city among the clouds; Located between the Andean mountain range and the Amazon jungle, it provides an unrestricted view of most astronomical events, known until then. The Temple of the Sun, the Temple of the Three Windows and the Intihuatana, are just some of the structures that the Incas built in order to observe the cosmos, and that are dedicated to the greatest deity of the Inca Empire, the Inti God. o Sun. Its positioning and the design of the structures have the purpose of observing the astronomical phenomena that governed the Inca society, its calendar and its agricultural seasons.

Main urban center

Machu Picchu enjoyed total autonomy; the residents of this city had their main needs covered in a great way; the terraces produced enough food to support the Inca, his family, his court, the priests, the virgins of the sun, and all the people who were at his service. Machu Picchu had an uninterrupted supply of water, coming from natural sources (springs and rivers from glaciers) around Machu Picchu.

The house of the virgins of the sun

In this house lived the virgin girls of great beauty consecrated to the Sun God; these were chosen to be priestesses in the service of the Inca and the gods of the empire. Not all of them had the same fate, some were chosen to be the concubines of the Inca, while others were sacrificed to obtain the favor and godliness of the gods. In Machu Picchu around 170 skeletons were discovered, of which 150 belonged to women.

Agricultural function

The Inca City had excellent hydraulic engineers, who were able to use natural water sources, to supply the entire Inca city by underground channels, which served both for human consumption and for agriculture. At the southern end of the Inca city known as the agricultural area, you will find numerous artificial terraces (andenería) in which local agriculture was developed.


Machu Picchu was designed to be inaccessible, this in order to protect the Inca and his family from possible invaders. In its heyday, Machu Picchu was surrounded by a wall 6 meters high, by 1.80 wide, although its greater protection had to do with its position in the mountain.

Abandonment of Machu Picchu

To this day the true reason why the Incas left Machu Picchu is unknown; As we already know, the Spaniards never found her. It is possible that the civil war waged between the Huáscar brothers and Atahualpa ended up by reducing the supply of food to the city.

Another theory that is handled is that the city was affected by an epidemic that killed a large part of the population, forcing others to retire to other cities.

It is not known exactly why they left Machu Picchu, what we do know, is that Machu Picchu was abandoned, before the Spaniards could reach it; what I keep practically intact and forgotten for more than 400 years, until Hiram Bingham rediscovered it in 1911.

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