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Was Machu Picchu always a tourist attraction?
Historians have long debated the real purpose for Machu Picchu's existence. Situated at 8000 feet above sea level, it couldn't have been easy to construct, nor was it easy to reach after it was completed. Some people believe it was a palace built for Pachacuti, the ruler of the Inca Empire at the time of the city's construction. Others have felt that it has some type of celestial observatory. But Magli feels that Machu Picchu was built to be a pilgrimage site that worshipers would make the trip to in order to relive an important journey from their historical past.
Gallery: Inca trail and Machu Picchu
This is an interesting theory, and if true, should make us all feel a little less guilty for beating a path to the Peruvian ruins. After all, if it was meant to be a tourist spot all along, we're only doing what the original architect intended. He should have planned ahead for higher capacity, or at least expansion, though.