Machu Picchu has deservedly captured the world’s attention and its UNESCO World Heritage Site tutelage, but do you know why it was built or what flora and fauna you may spot while there? How about the details behind its ingenious construction or how exactly it managed to evade the Spanish conquest of South America? Consider this blog post your Machu Picchu tour primer. Here are 5 interesting Machu Picchu facts to wow your adventure travel buddies with during your holiday in Peru.
- Machu Picchu is the name of the mountain, not just the citadel.
In fact, Machu Picchu literally means “old mountain” or “old peak” in the native Quechua language of the Incas. Throughout your tour of Peru, you’ll come across many Quechua-named peaks and ruins, including several prime examples along the Inca Trail trek to Machu Picchu.
- Machu Picchu is an important habitat for South America’s only bear species.
Known as the Spectacled Bear or the Andean Bear, this vulnerable bear species is sometimes spotted climbing Machu Picchu’s terraces or feasting on the flora and flora around the ruins. Its name comes from the yellowish or whitish patches that surround its eyes like spectacles.
- Machu Picchu is home to more than 400 types of orchids.
You could say that Machu Picchu is the land of the orchids. Its humid cloud forests and rain-prone weather are the ideal climate for orchids to thrive. In the Machu Picchu reserve alone, you can literally find more than 400 different types of orchid. It’s also been said that the Incas once cultivated these stunningly diverse flowers centuries ago.
- Machu Picchu can’t be seen from below.
This Machu Picchu fact is one that saved the beautiful citadel from being discovered by the Spanish, one of the only Inca-built sites to survive the conquest. From below, there’s absolutely no hint of the spectacular stone terraces, temples, and structures masterfully resting at the mountain’s peak.
- Machu Picchu sits on top of two fault lines.
As a result, the Incas employed a mortar-less technique known as ashlar to construct Machu Picchu. Every stone was cut to fit snugly together with the ones next to it. When an earthquake occurs, the stones bounce with the tremors and then safely fall back into place, a feat of engineering that has preserved the citadel for us to explore and experience today.
Book a Machu Picchu Tour Today
For more fascinating Machu Picchu facts like these, consider booking a Machu Picchu tour and trek with Explorandes. Our expert adventure tour guides are well-versed in the history, nature, and culture surrounding this ancient world wonder.