Machu Picchu Travel Tours

Why Was Machu Picchu Abandoned?

Welcome to our exploration of the captivating history of Machu Picchu, one of the world’s most renowned archaeological sites. In this article, we delve into the mystery surrounding its abandonment and the factors that contributed to its demise.

The Rise of Machu Picchu

Built in the 15th century by the Inca civilization, Machu Picchu stood as a testament to their architectural prowess and intricate urban planning. Nestled high in the Andes Mountains of Peru, it served as a sacred sanctuary, an astronomical observatory, and a residence for Inca nobility.

Theories on its Abandonment

The abandonment of Machu Picchu has puzzled historians and archaeologists for centuries. Various theories have been proposed to explain why this once-thriving city was mysteriously left behind.

Environmental Factors

One prevailing theory suggests that environmental factors played a significant role in Machu Picchu’s abandonment. The region experienced a series of severe droughts and crop failures, making it increasingly challenging for the inhabitants to sustain themselves.

Social and Political Factors

Another theory revolves around social and political factors. Some experts believe that a power struggle within the Inca Empire, combined with the arrival of Spanish conquistadors, led to the abandonment of Machu Picchu. The fear of being discovered and conquered may have prompted the inhabitants to flee.

Rediscovery and Preservation

Although abandoned and hidden from the world for centuries, Machu Picchu was rediscovered in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. Since then, efforts have been made to preserve and protect this cultural treasure, ensuring that future generations can appreciate its historical significance.


The abandonment of Machu Picchu remains a captivating enigma, with multiple theories offering glimpses into its mysterious past. While we may never fully unravel the truth, the allure of this ancient city continues to captivate the imaginations of visitors from around the globe.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. When was Machu Picchu abandoned?

Machu Picchu was abandoned around the mid-16th century.

2. What caused the abandonment of Machu Picchu?

The exact cause of Machu Picchu’s abandonment remains uncertain, but environmental factors such as droughts and crop failures, as well as social and political instability, are believed to have played a significant role.

3. Were there any signs of impending abandonment?

Archaeological evidence suggests that the population of Machu Picchu gradually declined before its ultimate abandonment, indicating that there may have been signs of impending desertion.

4. How was Machu Picchu rediscovered?

Machu Picchu was rediscovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, an American historian and explorer. While searching for the lost city of Vilcabamba, he stumbled upon the magnificent ruins of Machu Picchu.

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