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Lost Inca Cities

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"Last" and "lost" cities of the Incas


You can read about it often on the internet and you will see TV documentaries on the Discovery Channel about "THE Lost Inca City" or "THE Last Inca City" and other variations... They will tell that to you about Machu Picchu and you will hear the same thing about Paititi and this might cause some confusion...


Which is THE Lost City of the Incas? Where is it? Are there more of them?

Have they been found or is this just a myth?


There are several "lost Inca cities", because each of them had been forgotten at some point in time and needed to be rediscovered


Archaeologists have uncovered several impressive Inca cities from the ground and have cleared dense vegetation that has kept them hidden for many centuries.

Among these cities are Vilcabamba, Cota Coca, Corihuayrachina, Choquequirao, Vitcos and of course, the magical Machu Picchu. The latter one being the most spectacular... Perhaps the most spectacular city on Earth!


All of these were "lost" at some point...

Like a needle in a haystack!


These cities were either raided and demolished by the Spaniards or abandoned by their population for unknown reasons. Some of them were known, but they were forgotten. Their location was forgotten, rather.

The vast jungles of Peru can hide them so well, that even experienced explorers could walk away near them, without having any idea about what is there...


There also are cities that were never found by the Spaniards... Never discovered until the modern age. The such city that we know is Machu Picchu.

Had been abandoned by the Incas and has been found by historian-explorer, Hiram Bingham.


The 3rd category of "lost" cities is represented by those that are "talked about" in myths, stories, rumours and haven't been proven to exist.

These are mythological cities, just like the ancient Babylon, Troy or the Island of Atlantis.

There is only one such mythological hidden Inca city: Paititi.


Labels used for calling these cities are "lost city", "hidden city", "secret city", "last capital", "secret capital", "last refuge", "last stronghold" etc.


In some cases the label does make sense, but in other cases it is just made-up by the media...

Below we are taking a look at all the most important cities to clear things out!


Machu Picchu, "The Secret Inca City"


As we well know, it was never found by the conquistadores, who had raided and butchered in the valleys below, not far from it. They could not see what lay on top of the "Old Peak".


TV documentaries will most often call it "The Lost Inca City" or "The Hidden City of Machu Picchu", the second expression being more rarely used.

According to archaeologist, Gary Ziegler, the city of Machu Picchu must have been unknown to most Incas. He says that Machu Picchu was a religious sanctuary and was kept secret from other Incas.


Therefore, "The Secret City of Machu Picchu"...


Vilcabamba, "The Last Stronghold of the Incas"


It is considered the last major stronghold of the Incas, located in the valley with the same name, where they had resisted for decades against repeated Spanish attacks.

Vilcabamba was constructed in 1539 and it was was demolished in 1572 by the Spaniards.


Vitcos, "The Last Capital of the Incas"


The complex was constructed after Vilcabamba.

Vitcos was the center of the Vilcabamba Incas, initially lead by Manco Cápac II, then by Túpac Amaru.

It was probably the last city still held by the Incas, before the Spaniards have conquered it.


Choquequirao, "The Sacred Sister of Machu Picchu"


Choquequirao was a place of refuge of Manco Cápac II before after the siege of Cuzco. This happened in 1535. Later, the city was abandoned due to Spanish attack. Then, the Incas had had to move into the more remote, wild and warmer Vilcabamba Valley with more dense vegetation.

Despite the conquistador attack, Choquequirao has remained largely intact. Unlike the Fortress of Sacsayhuamán and the Fortress of Ollantaytambo.


Paititi, the Hidden Inca City With Tremendous Treasures


Mythical city, never found officially. Despite the fact that there were several dozens of claims, there is no scientific evidence any of those ruins found could be the famous Paititi.

This might not even be a real city, but everyone wants it so much to exist, especially those who discover ruins and those who hunt for gold.

The city's existence could be pure fiction. It could be like an "Emerald City" in the story "Wizard of Oz", or it might as well be real, like Troy was, until it was discovered by enthusiastic German Archaeologist, Heinrich Schliemann.




We hope that this little guide has cleared things out...


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