machu picchu
It’s estimated that 60 per cent of construction at Machu Picchu was underground. Image Credit: Pexels/Chelsea Cook

Nestled high in the Peruvian Andes lie the ruins of an ancient civilisation – Machu Picchu.

Click start to play today’s Crossword, which features this historic citadel in one of its clues.

The sanctuary of Machu Picchu was built over 500 years ago. Despite the fact that it sits atop a mountain in an earthquake-prone area, the citadel’s 500 stone buildings are amazingly still standing today. While the archaeological site draws thousands of visitors to Peru annually, the site still holds myriad secrets and mysteries.

Here are a few interesting facts about the destination that will likely ensure it remains high on your travel bucket list:

1. Impressive architecture that you cannot see

The Incan empire that possibly used Machu Picchu as a ceremonial site, is best remembered for its creation of stunning walls. But its civil engineering projects were advanced feats of engineering as well. Despite having no draft animals, iron tools or wheels, Incans were able to construct buildings with deep foundations and move earth and stone in a mountainous area to create a whole city. And it’s estimated that 60 per cent of construction at Machu Picchu was underground!

2. Earthquakes make it ‘dance’

The most impressive buildings found in the Incan empire used absolutely no mortar. According to a November 2018 National Geographic report, the stones were cut so precisely and wedged so close together that you could not even insert a credit card between them. This kind of construction had a huge benefit for the ancient citadel. Because Peru is a seismically unstable country, Machu Picchu finds itself atop two fault lines. So, when an earthquake occurs, the stones in the Incan buildings are said to dance – they bounce through the tremors and fall back into place. Researchers think it’s because of this ingenious engineering that Machu Picchu has survived the ages.

3. Incredible views

Machu Picchu stands 2,430m above sea level, in the centre of a tropical mountain forest, surrounded by the Andes and the upper Amazon basin that’s full of diverse flora and fauna. Its extraordinarily beautiful natural setting is reason enough to visit the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (Unesco) World Heritage Site.

4. It still holds many mysteries

According to Unesco's website, to this day, many of Machu Picchu’s mysteries remain unsolved. For instance, there exists a mysterious cave in the city, with a stone staircase leading nowhere. And scientists still do not know how people pushed granite rocks, weighing 22kg, up mountainsides without any wheels.

Have you been to Machu Picchu? Play today’s Crossword and tell us at