Travel the World: Machu Picchu

Staff

4 Min Quiz

Image: refer to hsw

About This Quiz

Machu Picchu was occupied for only about 100 years. After that, it was known solely to the locals for about 500 years until it was "discovered". Test your knowledge of this fantastic Incan enigma.

While there is some controversy concerning which modern foreigner first stumbled across Machu Picchu, most accounts credit Hiram Bingham. What year did he find Machu Picchu, soon after bringing it to the world's attention?

Bingham was guided to Machu Picchu by a young Quechua boy in 1911, and this amazingly untouched ruin of the Incas was profiled in National Geographic a couple of years later, capturing international imagination.

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The gorge of what river borders three sides of Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu lies some 2,000 feet (600 meters) above a sharp bend of the Urubamba River, and about 7,000 to 8,000 feet (2,133 to 2,438 meters) above sea level.

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What mountain vista is visible through Machu Picchu's Main Gate?

Entering through the Main Gate of Machu Picchu, the peak of Huayna Picchu is perfectly framed within the doorway.

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Whom do scholars suspect was responsible for ordering the construction of Machu Picchu?

Although it's difficult to be absolutely certain, many scientists believe Machu Picchu was built during the reign of the Inca ruler Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui in the mid-1400s.

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What function did Machu Picchu serve?

The function of Machu Picchu has been, and quite possibly forever will remain a veiled mystery. Scholars over the years have postulated that it may have served as a royal estate, ceremonial center, religious retreat, military citadel, pilgrimage site, administrative center -- perhaps even the birthplace of the Inca themselves -- or some combination thereof.

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From the Temple of the Sun, you can perfectly observe what celestial event?

Through a specific window in the Temple of the Sun -- one of many examples of Inca architecture aligned according to celestial events -- an observer can watch the dawning of the longest day of the year framed with amazing accuracy. The other windows in the building provide views of more astronomical happenings.

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How is Intihuatana (also sometimes spelled Intiwatana) commonly translated?

Intihuatana is often translated as "hitching post of the sun" although it literally means "for tying the sun." The only monument of its kind to survive the Spanish invasion intact, Machu Picchu's Intihuatana is aligned with the four cardinal points. Perhaps most notably, it was used in a special religious ceremony each winter solstice to catch the sun and prevent it from disappearing, thus ensuring a continued cycle of seasons.

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Back in Hiram Bingham's day, it took nearly a week of hiking to reach Machu Picchu from Cusco. How do people get there today?

Nowadays, people have a much easier option for traveling to Machu Picchu. The most common way tourists get there is by hopping on a train in Cusco for a scenic three- to four-hour ride. Then they can hike or take a bus up to the ruins.

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How many tourists visit Machu Picchu during peak season?

The World Monuments Fund reports that in all of 1992, only about 9,000 tourists journeyed to Machu Picchu. But by 2006, the amount of visitors hit more than 4,000 on a single day.

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What year was Machu Picchu added to UNESCO's World Heritage List?

Machu Picchu joined the ranks of the most stunning locales on UNESCO's World Heritage List in 1983.

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