Updated: September 7, 2021
Local People & Culture in Machu Picchu, Peru travel, Machu Picchu Peru travel vlog
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Machu Picchu is an ancient Incan city that sits 2000 feet above the Urubamba River Valley; and was built in 1450 in what is now Peru. Aside from any religious concerns, Machu Picchu is a masterpiece of architecture and engineering; with the network of buildings and extensive terraces are literally carved into the side of the mountain. Despite 550 years of wear and tear the ruins seems virtually untouched. This is quite a feat considering that the city was built without the use of animals, and that the bricks are not held together with any mortar. Machu Picchu was abandoned due to the Spanish invasion just over a hundred years after its construction.
With an extensive network of buildings carved from a mountain, Machu Picchu is a feat of architecture and engineering. The culture of Machu Picchu was highly influenced by the Incas. Many Peruvians believe that the ancient site has been preserved with the help of the Gods. The site was divided into an agricultural and urban sector, a lower (consisted of a warehouse) and an upper town (consisted of temples). There are around 200 buildings arranged on wide parallel terraces. nnThere were several compounds are called ‘kanchas’. Irrigation was provided by sophisticated channelling systems. The eastern section of the ancient city was primarily residential, whereas the western side was used for religious and ceremonial purposes. The three important archaeological treasures of Machu Picchu were the Inti Watana, the Room of the Three Windows and the Temple of the Sun.
Machu Picchu became such a controversial and important site because of its visibility and symbolism. Because of its fame, any serious developments concerning Machu Picchu will be newsworthy and visible; making it a very good way to deliver a message to the world. It is also a symbol of Western cultural appropriation and imperialism. Since knowledge of this sacred site became widespread in 1911, Europeans have been trying to control the site, and the study of the site. Bingham’s claim that he had discovered Machu Picchu when there were people living there is reflective of his racism and condescension towards the native people. He’s implying that the people living there don’t count because they’re not “civilized” or white. The removal of thousands of artifacts is another indication that Bingham completely failed to understand the importance of the site. Rather than looking at the ruins as a whole, considering the structures, location, culture, and people, Bingham took what he could and went to tell other white people because that’s what was important to him. The construction of a hotel and other tourist infrastructure is a further insulting offense. It’s comparable to putting a McDonald’s in St. Peter’s Square. It also encourages superficial cultural tourism. Instead of taking the time to understand, and interact with a culture, people come and stay at luxury resorts where they can avoid anything that’s not on the brochure. The message communicated is essentially that “Machu Picchu is great, only if there weren’t so many Peruvians.”