Inca Empire Facts for Kids

Machu Picchu
July 31, 2015 – 11:14 am
Jacques Cartier, Explorer:
Map of Machu PicchuWhen was Machu Picchu built?

Archeologists believe that the city was first built at the peak of the Inca Empire around the year 1450. Construction likely continued on the site until the empire was conquered by the Spanish in the mid 1500s.

Why was it built?

Machu Picchu was built as the royal estate for the ninth Inca King, Pachacuti. Archeologists aren't sure why he built it, however. There are a number of theories as to why he had it built. One theory is that it was a vacation retreat for the king. It is in a warmer spot than the capital city of Cuzco. It also is in a beautiful location and would have been a nice getaway for the king. Another theory is that it was built as a sacred religious site. Perhaps it was a combination of both theories.

How was Machu Picchu built?

Most of the buildings are built with stones that are fitted together tightly without the use of mortar. This style of construction helped the buildings to stay intact during earthquakes. The Inca didn't use the wheel or have heavy beasts of burden, so most of the hard work was done by people. It would have taken hundreds of laborers using grass ropes and levers to move the large stones around the site.

Temple of the Sun at Machu Picchu by Fabricio Guzman

Who lived here?

Machu Picchu was not a large city. Probably only around 1, 000 people lived there. It was likely a city for the Inca nobility and priests as well as their servants.

When was Machu Picchu rediscovered?

The city was rediscovered in July 1911 by explorer Hiram Bingham. He was led there by a local boy named Pablito Alvarez. Hiram wrote a book about the city called The Lost City of the Incas.

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