How much do you know about Machu Picchu?



9 Questions

What is the estimated number of people who lived in Machu Picchu during its use as a royal estate?

What are the three primary structures of Machu Picchu?

Who rediscovered Machu Picchu in 1911?

What is the name of the stone that points directly at the Sun during the winter solstice?

What is the name of the special cave used to observe the Royal Feast of the Sun?

What is the purpose of the unique tunnel-like window constructed in the cave of Inti Mach'ay?

What is the name of the river that surrounds Machu Picchu on three sides?

What is the reason for the heavy rainfall at Machu Picchu?

What happened to Machu Picchu in 2023?


Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca citadel located in southern Peru on a 2,430-meter (7,970 ft) mountain ridge.

The Inca civilization had no written language, so there are no written records of the site while it was in use.

Most recent archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was constructed as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472).

Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. Its three primary structures are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows.

By 1976, 30% of Machu Picchu had been restored and restoration continues.

Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historic Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

In 2007, Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in a worldwide internet poll.

During its use as a royal estate, it is estimated that about 750 people lived there, with most serving as support staff.

Much of the farming done at Machu Picchu was done on its hundreds of man-made terraces.

Little information describes human sacrifices at Machu Picchu, though many sacrifices were never given a proper burial.

In 1911 American historian and explorer Hiram Bingham traveled the region looking for the old Inca capital and was led to Machu Picchu by a villager, Melchor Arteaga.

Bingham was unclear about the original purpose of the ruins, but concluded there was noMachu Picchu: History, Geography, and Tourist Activity

  • Machu Picchu was rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, who explored the region with the help of locals and identified various Inca ruins, including Vitcos, Chuquipalta, and Espíritu Pampa.

  • Bingham returned to Machu Picchu in 1912 and undertook a four-month clearing of the site with local labor, which was expedited with the support of the Prefect of Cusco. Excavation started in 1912 with further excavation undertaken in 1914 and 1915.

  • Machu Picchu is officially twinned with Haworth, West Yorkshire in the United Kingdom.

  • Since its rediscovery in 1911, growing numbers of tourists have visited the site each year, with numbers exceeding 1.4 million in 2017.

  • In the late 1990s, the Peruvian government granted concessions to allow the construction of a cable car and a luxury hotel, including a tourist complex with boutiques and restaurants and a bridge to the site. Many people protested the plans, including Peruvians and foreign scientists, saying that more visitors would pose a physical burden on the ruins.

  • In 2018, plans were restarted to construct a cable car to encourage Peruvians to visit Machu Picchu and boost domestic tourism. A no-fly zone exists above the area. UNESCO is considering putting Machu Picchu on its List of World Heritage in Danger.

  • The site is roughly divided into an urban sector and an agricultural sector, and into an upper town and a lower town. The temples are in the upper town, the warehouses in the lower.

  • The architecture is adapted to the mountains. Approximately 200 buildings are arranged on wide parallel terraces around an east–west central square.

  • The site is situated above a bow of the Urubamba River, which surrounds the site on three sides, where cliffs drop vertically for 450 meters (1,480 ft) to the river at their base.

  • The city sits in a saddle between the two mountains Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, with a commanding view down two valleys and a nearly impassable mountain at its back.

  • The Intihuatana stone is one of many ritual stones in South America. These stones are arranged to point directly at the Sun during the winter solstice. The name of the stone derives from Quechua language: inti means "sun", and wata-, "to tie, hitch (up)". The suffix -na derives nouns for tools or places. Hence Intihuatana is literally an instrument or place to "tie up the sun".

  • Inti Mach'ay is a special cave used to observe the Royal Feast of the Sun. This festival was celebrated during the Incan month of Qhapaq Raymi. It began earlier in the month and concluded on the December solstice.Machu Picchu: History, Architecture, and Controversy

  • The cave of Inti Mach'ay with a unique tunnel-like window constructed to allow sunlight into the cave.

  • Dispute over cultural artifacts where thousands of artifacts were removed from Machu Picchu in 1912, 1914, and 1915 and taken to Yale University.

  • Construction of the central buildings using the classical Inca architectural style of polished dry-stone walls of regular shape.

  • Machu Picchu was intentionally built on fault lines to afford better drainage and a ready supply of fractured stone.

  • Heavy rainfall required terraces and stone chips to drain rainwater and prevent mudslides, landslides, erosion, and flooding.

  • The Incas never used wheels in a practical way, although their use in toys shows that they knew the principle.

  • The Inca road system included a route to the Machu Picchu region, and people were connected to long-distance trade.

  • Thousands of tourists walk the Inca Trail to visit Machu Picchu each year.

  • Entrance restrictions were introduced in 2011, limiting the number of visitors per day and restricting entrance to Huayna Picchu.

  • In January 2010, heavy rain caused flooding that buried or washed away roads and railways to Machu Picchu, temporarily closing the site.

  • In 2023, the site was indefinitely shut down due to the 2022-2023 Peruvian unrest disrupting transportation that had left hundreds of tourists stranded.

  • Machu Picchu has been featured in several films, including Secret of the Incas, Aguirre, the Wrath of God, The Motorcycle Diaries, and Thread Routes, among others.


Do you know everything there is to know about the historic wonder of Machu Picchu? Test your knowledge with our quiz that covers the history, geography, architecture, and controversy surrounding this 15th-century Inca citadel located in southern Peru. From its construction as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti to its declaration as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and New Seven Wonders of the World, this quiz will challenge your understanding of one of the most fascinating archaeological sites in the world

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