Machu Picchu

page 2


Experts debate
Machu Picchu's purpose

What was it?

Archaeologists disagree on whether Machu Picchu was primarily a:

Royal site?


Royal retreat?

Religious site

There is scant evidence that Machu Picchu was an important sacred site.


The stronghold theory bears some weight because the builders chose an enviable defensive setting bordered on three sides by precipitous river canyon walls. Moreover, the inhabitants could survive a long siege. They were self-sufficient regarding food because they farmed and ranched the verdant Machu Picchu terraces.

However, the stronghold theory has a weakness. Would there be sufficient military value to justify constructing a major citadel in Machu Picchu's remote location?

Royal retreat

Recently two archaeologists threw a monkey wrench into the stronghold vs. sacred site dispute. Their research indicated to them that Machu Picchu was built mainly as a spectacular summer mountain palace - and that the citadel and religious aspects played secondary roles.

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