19. Why was Machu Picchu built so high up?

Introduction: Exploring the rationale for Machu Picchu’s elevated location.

Machu Picchu is situated at an altitude of about 2,430 meters (7,970 feet) above sea level, high in the Andes Mountains of Peru. The reasons for its location at such a high altitude have been the subject of much debate and speculation. In this essay, we will explore some of the reasons behind the decision to build Machu Picchu so high up.

Strategic defense: The advantage of a high-altitude position for protection.

One of the most commonly cited reasons for building Machu Picchu so high up is its strategic location. The site is located on a ridge between two mountains, which provides a natural defense against potential invaders. The steep terrain and narrow access points would have made it difficult for enemies to launch an attack. Additionally, the high altitude would have made it challenging for armies to acclimatize and fight effectively, giving the Inca people a strategic advantage.

Religious significance: The sacred nature of the mountains in Inca beliefs.

The Inca people had a deep spiritual connection to the mountains and believed them to be sacred. They believed that the gods resided in the mountains and that building important structures at high elevations would bring them closer to the divine. Machu Picchu’s location high in the Andes Mountains may have been chosen to enhance its spiritual significance and align it with the sacred geography of the region.

Integration with nature: Harmony between architecture and the surrounding environment.

The Inca people were known for their impressive engineering skills, and they were also highly attuned to the natural environment. They built structures that were in harmony with their surroundings, and they incorporated natural features like streams and boulders into their architecture. The location of Machu Picchu at a high altitude may have been chosen to take advantage of the natural features of the area and to create a structure that was integrated into the landscape.

Resource availability: Access to local materials and water sources.

The Andes Mountains are rich in natural resources, including stone, water, and fertile soil. The location of Machu Picchu at a high altitude may have been chosen to take advantage of these resources. The site was built using local materials, including granite and limestone quarried from nearby mountains. Additionally, the site’s high altitude provided access to water sources, which were essential for irrigation and agriculture.

Conclusion: Considering the various factors that influenced Machu Picchu’s altitude.

In conclusion, there are several reasons why Machu Picchu was built so high up. These include strategic defense, religious significance, integration with nature, and access to natural resources. While we may never know the exact reasons behind the decision to build Machu Picchu at such a high altitude, it is clear that the Inca people were deeply attuned to the natural environment and that their choice of location was influenced by a range of factors. Today, Machu Picchu’s elevated location continues to add to its allure and mystique.