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2020-10-12 Other articles >

Machu Picchu: the UN-lost city of the Incas

High in the mountains of South America (2400 m above sea level, to be precise), above the valley of the river with the sonorous name of Urubamba, there is an ancient city of the disappeared Inca tribe - Machu Picchu. Its no less memorable and bright name is translated from the Quechua language as 'old mountain', which is 200% true.
Looking at the remains of a once bustling settlement, it is hard to believe that the city could have been built so high and so masterfully in the 15th century. At the same time, the builders did not have any special mechanisms. Moreover, the ancient Incas did not even know the wheels (!), so we can only wonder how they managed to drag so many building materials to such a height on the rocky cliffs!

Domestic contractors should learn from the masters of that time, because the city was built without the use of cementing solutions and, despite this, stood for centuries. Numerous earthquakes and tremors did not damage the structures of Machu Picchu, and all the buildings have been wonderfully preserved to this day.
The secret of construction - polygonal masonry stones, in which the blocks were adjusted and stacked on the principle of puzzles. Moreover, the masonry is so dense, and the fit of the stones is perfectly accurate, that the blade does not pass between the blocks. And when the earth is shaken by another shock, they only jump, and again return to their original position. That's who really knew how to build, so it's the ancient Incas!
One can only imagine the tremendous excitement that the discoverer of Machu Picchu-Yale University Professor Hiram Bingham - experienced when he first saw the ancient city in 1911. The written sources he analyzed on the Inca civilization indicated that a city once existed in the vicinity of Cuzco (translated as 'the navel of the Earth'), which was the capital of the Empire at that time. It was in search of him that he went, accompanied by a squad of guards and a local boy guide.
Climbing the winding paths (I immediately remember the picturesque shots from the movies 'In search of captain Grand' or 'Indiana Jones'), he found about 200 ancient structures in which they lived... local peasant. The city, where the Spanish conquistadors could not get, and which is of great interest to researchers of ancient South American peoples, was chosen by local residents looking for freedom.
The Gambia postal service in the 'Architecture' series in 2011 released a block to mark the 100th anniversary of the discovery of Machu Picchu by Professor Bingham. Against the backdrop of spectacular Andean landscapes, fragments of the legendary city are depicted, as well as a portrait of Hiram Bingham himself.
In fact, there is almost no information about this mysterious place. We don't know its true name, purpose, or exact time of construction. We can only assume that the number of inhabitants reached 1,200 people. Judging by the quality of construction, there are VIP apartments and simpler buildings. Perhaps it was the winter residence of one of the most powerful Inca emperors - Pachacutec, where he came with his entourage for the season.

Some historians believe that Pachacutec knew about the impending disaster for his people - the conquest of the Spanish conquistadors. That's why the city was built, which is difficult to find. The last inhabitants of the Inca Empire took refuge there, and from there they mysteriously disappeared in 1532, when the Spaniards invaded their lands...

Modern Peruvian salts depict a portrait of this powerful Inca. Peruvians remember and honor their history, because they really have something to be proud of.
There is an altar in the city, a sacred square in the center, which is reached by winding streets. But the most interesting thing is at the top of the cliff, which can be reached by a long staircase - 'the place where the sun is tied' - the polygonal stone of intihuatan. It served as an Observatory where the priests watched the sun and stars, and religious festivals were held around it on solstice days.
Looking at the impossible architectural wonders, you realize that such deep knowledge of the Incas was based on scrupulous observations and experience that accumulated for generations. A calendar of 360 days, 12 months of 30 days each, the medical use of penicillin, a calculating device-yupana, which allows you to quickly and, most importantly, accurately perform complex mathematical calculations, mail, roads, nodular letter kipu - all these achievements of the Inca civilization indicate a high level of development of scientific knowledge.
Of course, numismatists would like to see amazing copies of Inca coins that know a lot about precious metals. But - alas, the peculiarity of the Inca economy was the lack of commodity and money turnover. Trade was impecunious, most often barter was used, sometimes - cocoa beans, Coca leaves, small hatchets, clothing. If it was necessary to pay a large sum, the Indians used a mysterious shining mineral, which had the property of not heating up in the fire.
Modern coins carry information about a mysterious city in the Andes mountains - Machu Picchu. In 2008, Mongolia minted silver coins in the series 'Wonders of the world', which depict the ruins of the city and green terraces, effectively appearing against the background of mountain slopes.
In 2011, Peru introduced 10 million 1-salt coins with the ancient city of Machu Picchu depicted on them.
With the arrival of the conquerors, the Incas hid all their gold, which they worshipped as a deity, far away in the mountains. No matter how many expeditions were equipped, no one has been able to find it to this day. Legend has it that only the chosen one will find the hidden treasures, and then the mighty Empire of the sons of the Sun will be reborn again. Who knows, maybe the answer is hidden in the impregnable Machu Picchu?..
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