A Citadel in the Sky

Stone walls of Machu | Wikimedia.org

Stone walls of Machu | Wikimedia.org

Hiram Bingham announced the discovery of Machu Picchu to the world on July 24, 1911. Since its discovery over 100 years ago, historians and archaeologists continue to search for clues that could explain the reason the Inca people built a city 7,972 feet (2,430 meters) above sea level. What was the true purpose or significance of this mountain hideaway? How did the natives adapt to living high above the clouds? How long did this civilization live in the mountainous terrain of Peru? Who were the Incas?

Making this mystery more puzzling is the incomplete written record that accounts for Machu Picchu’s history. And with limited evidence, the standing stone walls, the clay preserved artifacts left behind by previous inhabitants, researchers continue to pursue the hidden details of this citadel.

“What Bingham saw was a dramatic and towering citadel of stone cut from escarpments. Fashioned by men without mortar, the stones fit so tightly together that not even a knife’s blade could fit between them. He wondered: Why? By whom? For what?”

Road to the Sky. Machu Picchu | Ancient Innovations/Discovery HD


  1. For the Inca’s of Peru, what are the advantages of building a city 7,970 feet (2,430 meters) above sea level?
  2. Imagine you are Hiram Bingham seeing this city for the first time, what words would you use to describe what you are seeing?
  3. After viewing the video, Road to the Sky: Machu Picchu, for what purpose do historian believe this citadel was built?

Categories: History

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40 replies

  1. 34kiwis i am doing my exibition project on global warming

  2. is in it hard to breath up there

  3. this city is mysterious and beautiful. if i saw this city for the first time i would think “how did these people do this?!”

  4. One advantage is the Incas built it high so it is sort of like a vacation spot.

    Hiram Binham would probably describe Machu Picchu as a mysterious, old, wealthy, gigantic, famous, and beautiful .

    I believe the Incas built this place far war because there have been lots of wars in Machu Picchu.

  5. This city is: breathtaking,heartstopping,amazing,abstract,mysterious,and very colorful. :p

  6. A Citadel in the Sky : Why? By Whom? For What?

    The words Bingham would use to describe this city: massive, colorful, granite, ancient, breathtaking, and damp.The purpose of this city is to do the things they have to do without worries. I believe the Incas built this city because he wanted a place to stay when the valley was hot. The Incas also wanted to be closer to the sun because it was kind of like a god.

  7. A Citadel in the Sky

    I believe the Incas built the citadel because they wanted to win all their wars. They also wanted to be closer to the sun because the sun had to do something with their religion and the empire was named The Son Of The Sun.

  8. Describing Machu Picchu
    Old bridge, amazing palace, messengers, stonewall, villages near, and gets hot and cold.

    I believe that The Incas could live in Machu Picchu without other people knowing where they lived . It was in the moutains that The Emporer and his son lived there with gaurds.

  9. What were the advantages:
    They never had floods because they were so high and Machu Picchu was a slanted citadel.
    They never had hunger because a lot of foods grew there.
    They were so high up they could have more force and sight of the enemies who wanted war.
    They had a awesome view of the sun.

    How I would describe Machu Picchu if I saw it for the first time:
    heart stopping

    Why I think it was built:
    I think the Incas built Machu Picchu so high is because the empire wanted a great vacation spot, wonderful views, safety from enemies, being able to see the enemies that are trying to climb the mountain, and the Incas thought the God of the Sun lived in the high mountains.

  10. I believe the Inca’s built this city so they could be safe from invaders, and because the Emperor wanted to be closer to the sun.

  11. A Citadel in the Sky: Why? By Whom? For What?
    From Machu Picchu you can see everything that is coming up the hill. This city can also be hidden from the view. The view of the view of the valley. For weather reasons, protection from certain elements.

  12. that was very interesting video mr.rosales


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