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Wonders of the World

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Machu Picchu was built around 1450, at the height of the Inca Empire.[6] The construction of Machu Picchu appears to date from the period of the two great Incas, Pachacutec Inca Yupanqui (1438-71) and Tupac Inca Yupanqui (1472-93).[7] It was abandoned just over 100 years later, in 1572, as a belated result of the Spanish Conquest.[6][8] It is possible that most of its inhabitants died from smallpox introduced by travelers before the Spanish conquistadors arrived in the area.[9] The latter had notes of a place called Piccho, although there is no record of the Spanish having visited the remote city. The types of sacred rocks defaced by the conquistadors in other locations are untouched at Machu Picchu. [8]

Hiram Bingham theorized that the complex was the traditional birthplace of the Incan "Virgins of the Suns".[10] More recent research by scholars such as John Howland Rowe and Richard Burger, has convinced most archaeologists that Machu Picchu was an estate of the Inca emperor Pachacuti.[8] In addition, Johan Reinhard presented evidence that the site was selected because of its position relative to sacred landscape features such as its mountains which are purported to be in alignment with key astronomical events important to the Incas.

Johan Reinhard believes Machu Picchu to be a sacred religious site. This theory stands mainly because of where Machu Picchu is located. Reinhard calls it "sacred geography" because the site is built on and around mountains that hold high religious importance in the Inca culture and in the previous culture that occupied the land. At the highest point of the mountain in which Machu Picchu was named after, there are “artificial platforms [and] these had a religious function, as is clear from the Inca ritual offerings found buried under them” (Reinhard 2007). These platforms also are found in other Incan religious sites. The site’s other stone structures have finely worked stones with niches and, from what the “Spaniards...

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