Do you know Machu Picchu has been called the wrong name for over 100 years. Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca citadel located in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru on a 2,430-meter (7,970 ft) mountain ridge.
It is located in the Machu Picchu District within Urubamba Province above the Sacred Valley, which is 80 kilometers (50 mi) northwest of Cusco.
The Urubamba River flows past it, cutting through the Cordillera and creating a canyon with a tropical mountain climate.
For over 100 years, the archaeological site, Machu Picchu, has been known by the wrong name, according to a report published in Ñawpa Pacha: Journal of the Institute of Andean Studies.
The Incas who built the ancient city likely called it Huayna Picchu, the report said.
Huayna translates to “new or young,” while Picchu means “mountain peak” in the Indigenous Quechua language, said Emily Dean, professor of anthropology at Southern Utah University in Cedar City.
Machu means “old,” so we’ve been calling it old mountain peak, she added.
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The Incan settlement was believed to have been built around 1420 as an estate for royal Incas living in Cuzco, the capital of the Incan empire, according to report author Brian Bauer, professor of anthropology at the University of Illinois at Chicago.
When the Spaniards later conquered the Incas, Huayna Picchu was abandoned, the report said. It was hidden for centuries deep in the Andes mountains until American explorer Hiram Bingham rediscovered it in 1911.
who in his (Hiram Bingham) field notes, decided to call the ancient city Machu Picchu, based on information provided to him by his guide Melchor Arteaga, a farmer who lived in the area.
The researchers began by looking at Bingham’s notes, where he stated that he was uncertain of the name of the ruins when he first visited them. From there, Bauer and Amado Gonzales reviewed maps and atlases printed before and after Bingham’s visit.
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One of the most stunning documents was a report from 1588 stating the Indigenous people of the Vilcabamba region were considering returning to Huayna Picchu, Bauer said.
The name error isn’t surprising, Dean said, because many non-Peruvian archaeologists did not put much effort into researching the names of places and didn’t fully understand Quechua.
Despite the discovery of the area’s original name ( Huayna Picchu), it’s likely to remain Machu Picchu, because that’s what the archeological site is known as worldwide.