What Ancient Civilization Had Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu is an awe-inspiring ancient city located high in the Andes Mountains of Peru. The site was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983 and has been a popular destination for tourists from all over the world. But which ancient civilization had Machu Picchu?

The Inca Civilization

The answer is the Inca civilization. Machu Picchu was built by the Incas in the 15th century, during the height of their empire. The Inca Empire was one of the largest empires in pre-Columbian America, and at its peak, it spanned across modern-day Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador, Chile, and Argentina.

The Discovery of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu remained hidden from the outside world until its discovery by American historian Hiram Bingham in 1911. Bingham stumbled upon the site while searching for Vilcabamba, the last capital of the Inca Empire.

The discovery of Machu Picchu was a significant event as it shed light on one of the most advanced civilizations that ever existed in South America.

The Architecture of Machu Picchu

One of the most remarkable features of Machu Picchu is its architecture. The Incas were known for their impressive stonework and engineering skills, which are evident in every corner of this ancient city.

The buildings at Machu Picchu were constructed without using mortar or cement. Instead, they used a technique called ashlar masonry, where stones are cut to fit together perfectly without any gaps.

The Purpose of Machu Picchu

The exact purpose behind Machu Picchu remains a mystery to this day. Some experts believe that it served as a royal estate for Inca Emperor Pachacuti while others believe that it may have been a religious or ceremonial center.

However, the most widely accepted theory is that Machu Picchu was a retreat for Inca nobility and their attendants. The site’s remote location, surrounded by mountains, would have provided a peaceful and secure environment for the elite to escape the hustle and bustle of city life.

The End of the Inca Empire

The Inca Empire came to an end in 1532 when Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro invaded Peru and captured Inca Emperor Atahualpa. The Spanish destroyed many Inca cities, including Cusco, but they never found Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu remained hidden from the outside world until its discovery by Hiram Bingham over three hundred years later.


In conclusion, Machu Picchu was built by the Inca civilization in the 15th century. It is one of the most impressive examples of Inca architecture and engineering skills.

The purpose of Machu Picchu remains a mystery, but it is believed to have been a retreat for Inca nobility. Its remote location would have provided a peaceful and secure environment for them to escape city life.

Today, Machu Picchu is one of the most popular tourist destinations in South America, attracting millions of visitors from all over the world every year.