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History and timeline Machu Picchu, Cusco

Machu Picchu has a fascinating history to share. We invite you to delve into its discovery, the meaning of Tahuantinsuyo, the Inca culture, the Ayar Brothers’ history, and more. This wealth of knowledge will greatly enhance your visit to the Inca Citadel.
Descubrimiento de Machu Picchu

Who discovered Machu Picchu?

Agustín Lizárraga, a Peruvian citizen from Cusco, is widely recognized as the official discoverer of the archaeological site of Machu Picchu. He is known to have found the remains of the site in 1902, but was unable to reveal them due to lack of backing from the Provisional Government. Nine years later, on July 24th, 1911, Hiram Bingham, an American history professor, arrived at Machu Picchu in search of the lost Inca city of Vilcabamba. Bingham was accompanied by landowner Melchor Arteaga and Sergeant Carrasco of the Peruvian National Guard.

What does Tahuantinsuyo mean?

Tahuantinsuyo is a word derived from Quechua, the native language of the Andes. It is a fusion of two terms: “tahua,” meaning “four,” and “suyo,” which translates to “region.” This name primarily denotes the division of the Inca empire into four regions. The northwestern region was known as Chinchaysuyo, the northeastern region as Antisuyo, the southwestern region as Contisuyo, and the southeastern region as Collasuyo. Find out the historical Inca leaders who governed the Tahuantinsuyo region.
Inca history

The Inca Culture

The Inca civilization , was an advanced and sophisticated culture, governed by 13 Incas who ruled over a society divided into social classes. They had their own highly developed language called Quechua and revered the sun as their primary deity. Within their cultural practices, gold objects were regarded as embellishments for the garments of the rulers, primarily valued for their ornamental significance rather than as a form of currency, as they lacked intrinsic worth.

Cusco Main Square

Ayar Brothers: A magical legend of Cusco

According to legend, four brothers and their wives emerged from the cave of Cerro Temptoco: Ayar Manco and Mama Ocllo, Ayar Cachi and Mama Cora, Ayar Uchu and Mama Rahua, and Ayar Auca and Mama Huaco. Together, they headed northeast in search of fertile lands. During the journey, Ayar Cachi was tricked and returned to the cave, where he was imprisoned. The others continued on until they reached Cerro Huanacaure, where they found a stone statue. Sitting on it, Ayar Uchu was petrified. The others descended to the valley of Vatanai, but Ayal Oka was the first to arrive and also turned to stone. In this place, Ayar Manco founded Cusco, the capital of the Incas, and erected a temple dedicated to the Sun God called Inticancha.

Discover our interactive map of Machu Picchu

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