The ancient city of Machu Picchu was discovered in 1911. Archaeologists were so excited about finding the ruins of this city. Some believe it was a country estate. Some believe it was a religious retreat. Some believe it was a city high in the Andes mountains that was somehow overlooked by the Spanish. It was quite a find!
Explorers found ruins of temples, palaces, fortresses, and a royal tomb. They found remains of the stone aqueducts that brought water into the city from over a mile away. They found remains of terrace gardens, and homes for farmers, nobles, and priests. They found wonderful pottery.
They also found an Intihuatana. This was an exciting discovery. An Intihuatana was the ceremonial pyramid the Incas built to speak to their sun god.
Once, there were intihuatanas all over the Incan empire. But Machu Picchu is the only place one of these has been found intact. The rest were destroyed by the Spanish invaders. The carved rock at the top was used by Incan astronomers to predict the best times to plant crops. In Machu Picchu, the Intihuatana was angled and built so that people in the palace had ring side seats - from the palace, it would have been easy to see the ceremonies conducted on the very top of the Intihuatana.
It has been nearly 100 years since Machu Picchu was first rediscovered. Today, Machu Picchu is still Peru's top tourist attraction. If you ever travel to Peru, we highly recommend you include a visit to the fabulous forgotten city of the incredible Incas, Machu Picchu. Bring your hiking boots. It's quite a walk!
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