When we first visited Machu Picchu in 2009, archeologists believed that it may have been built in the 15th century as a sort of “university” for the study of astronomy and perhaps the development of a written language. As of our most recent visit the archeologists have decided that it was most likely more of a royal estate for the Inca Emperor. Not a bad vacation property, although the landscaping costs would have been a little high.
The Inca abandoned Machu Pichu in the mid 16th century when the Spanish began their brutal conquest of their empire. Thankfully, the Spanish never found Machu Picchu, or you could guarantee that it would have been torn down and converted to a catholic cathedral. Although there is some evidence that it may have been plundered by some “explorers” earlier, credit for its rediscovery in 1911 is given to Hiram Bingham, a professor (not an archeologist) from Yale University.