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What does Machu Picchu mean?

Below you will find everything you need to know about the meaning behind Machu Picchu.

When we talk about Machu Picchu we are referring to an Inca archaeological site located in Peru that is surrounded by the Amazon jungle northeast of the city of Cusco. However, not everyone knows the literal meaning of its name. Therefore, let’s discover some more details about this archaeological site and its name really means.

¿Qué significa Machu Picchu?

What is Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is located within the Urubamba valley, at about 2,350 m. It is a very suggestive place, where you can admire impressive ruins, as well as a splendid view of the Urubamba valley, about 400 meters below. To get there it’s necessary to pass through the town of Aguas Calientes, which can only be reached by train or helicopter. From there, take another train and walk a long way. Although it is a but of a hike, the final destination is well worth the journey. 

Scholars assume that Machu Picchu was built by the Inca emperor Pachacutec around 1440, and remained inhabited until 1532.

After being abandoned, its location remained unknown for four centuries. It was June 24, 1911 when the American historian Hiram Bingham unearthed what later became one of the most famous cultural complexes in the world: Machu Picchu. Funnily, Bingham was actually in Peru looking for the remains of Vilcabamba and had believed he found them right in Machu Picchu.

He soon realized that he had actually found the remains of a city forgotten by the world. According to testimonies, Machu Picchu was referred to many times throughout history, but Bingham was credited with having understood the importance of this discovery and having initiated studies on the ruins.

Part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites, Machu Picchu was chosen as one of the Seven Wonders of the World in 2007. It is the third largest archaeological site in the world.

¿Qué significa Machu Picchu?

But let’s see what Machu Picchu literally means.

What Machu Picchu means

As for the meaning of the two words, Machu means ‘Old’, while Picchu means ‘Mountain’. Therefore the name for one of the most enchanting places in the world means: Old Mountain!

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