Transformers 7 Brings Peru’s Machu Picchu to the Big Screen
Updated On: September 12, 2023
Machu Picchu – a name once unfamiliar to the ears is now making headlines after the epic battles of the Transformers were filmed in this beautiful part of Peru.
The film not only tells the story of the Rise of the Beasts, but it also takes the audience on a journey around the ancient landscapes of Machu Picchu, which the filmmakers chose as one of the most suitable locations for events of the movie to unfold.
Why Machu Picchu?
The production team of the Transformers: Rise of the Beasts had in mind an old and beautiful place to film the movie. The location that best matched the awakening site of the beasts was Machu Picchu, one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.
Sitting on top of a mountain in the rocky countryside of Cusco in Peru, Machu Picchu was the backdrop against which the larger-than-life robots came to life in the Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.
The location was carefully picked to add further thrill and fantasy to this new instalment of the Transformers, with the scenario being filmed with the ancient ruins of the iconic Machu Picchu in the background.
The Plot of Transformers: Rise of the Beasts
Two human protagonists find themselves in the middle of a galactic war between Autobots (a collection of toys and cartoons) and Deceptions (sentient robotic vehicles capable of transforming into alternate forms). The seventh film of the popular franchise also introduces the honourable Maximals (robotic aliens capable of transforming into animals) and the deceitful Terrorcons (robotic aliens capable of transforming into monsters).
The first half of Transformers 7 takes place in Brooklyn, New York, introducing the two human characters. This part tells the background of Noah Diaz (a tech genius struggling to find a job) and Elena Wallace (an artefact researcher who works at a museum and gets entangled in the machine-infused war).
The second half of the movie is set in Cusco, Peru. Autobots are seen on the streets of Cusco, flying over Machu Picchu’s grand Inca ruins and mingling with locals. Over 30 high-speed cars, trucks and motorbikes were shipped to Peru to film the sci-fi movie, which occurred in several key sites, most prominently the iconic citadel of Machu Picchu.
This article will shed light on the locations of the battle between the Autobots and Deceptions, in the middle of which the two human characters got caught up as well.
The Filming of Transformers 7 in Peru
The seventh take of Transformers introduces new characters and exposes Machu Picchu and the Inca culture to the world in an adventurous way that was never seen before.
A 15-second promotional video was also promotional of the Peruvian landscapes. It included quick snaps of scenes shot in Peru’s Cusco and San Martin regions.
The story starts when a curious Elena Wallace begins investigating marks on the eagle figurine and makes a connection with the Temple of the Sun in Cusco.
The first scene of the Autobots’ arrival in Cusco was filmed in the ceremonial centre of Sacsayhuaman, with the camera rolling to give the audience an excellent view of this Peruvian city. Here, the Autobots will outline their plan to find the missing part of the key that will take them back to their world.
The protagonists attempt to reach the Temple of the Sun – the Qoricancha – and pass through crowds of people gathering in the Main Square to attend the ancient Festival of the Sun – the Inti Raymi. The protagonists and the audience alike learn about the folk dances and the live music, which are aspects of the culture of Cusco.
The action scene that got the Autobots and the Maximals in a face-off with the Predacons and Terrorcons was filmed in the main square of the citadel and terraces in Machu Picchu. The Pisonay tree was the closing scene of the clash in Machu Picchu. The Peruvian authorities had permitted the cast to film from the top of the terraces that overlook the ancient city of the Incas. Only drones were allowed to fly over the ancient ruins, though.
The pursuit scene occurred on the road from the city of Cusco to the Sacred Valley of the Incas in Machu Picchu.
A parade in the square was filmed in Plaza de Armas, with hundreds of locals participating in supporting roles and appearing in their traditional costumes. Through this parade scene, the filmmakers want to give the audience a closer look at the unique Peruvian traditions.
Besides Machu Picchu, some scenes were shot in the lush jungle of San Martin, where the Autobots meet the Maximals. The forest was chosen as the best place to represent the home of animals since Maximals in this movie transform into animals.
It is also the first time that a robot in the popular series speaks the native language of Peru, Quechua, which further puts the South American country under the spotlight.
The mysticism and majesty of the ancient Inca civilisation are now on the big screen. Transformers: Rise of the Beasts provides a magical blend of fiction in the movie and history in Peru’s Machu Picchu.
The History of Machu Picchu
It all began in July 1911, when Hiram Bingham III, a history lecturer at Yale University, embarked on a journey to search for a city called Vilcabamba, but discovered Machu Picchu – some of the most unique sets of ruins on planet Earth – on top of a mountain in Peru.
Built around 1450 AD, Machu Picchu, which means “Old Mountain”, is 7,000 feet above sea level and houses the ancient ruins of the Inca Empire. It is made of granite stones that were perfectly fitted together without mortar in an extraordinary urban creation on top of the Andes Mountains.
Machu Picchu covered an area of 32,592 hectares in the tropical forests and was the hidden capital of the Incas, who are believed to have built this “lost city” to escape from Spanish invaders, who wiped out the Incan civilisation in 1532.
Atahualpa was the 13th and last Incan emperor, who is said to have been strangulated in a trap set by Spanish explorer Francisco Pizarro in 1532. The last Incan capital fell into ruins in 1572.
This city also served as the sacred religious site of Inca leaders and allowed for the biodiversity of flora and fauna. Machu Picchu is only 500 years old.
It is truly an ancient archaeological wonder that still exists in South America.
Machu Picchu, the site of the ancient Inca ruins, was declared a “historic sanctuary” in 1981. The mountains that cradle the area are also considered sacred.
In 1983, Machu Picchu was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO, one of the few almost intact American Indian sites. In 2007, it was named one of the seven modern wonders of the world.
The Site of Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu stands at 2,430 metres above sea level. Located in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, this ancient city of the Incas has giant walls, terraces and ramps that appear as if they have been naturally cut in the rocks.
The terraces were designed to guarantee the soil at Machu Picchu remains fertile. Farming was done on those manufactured terraces, whose structure was also meant to provide good drainage and protect the mountain from erosion.
Unfortunately, this adaptation was not the best, and multiple landslides reportedly occurred during the building of Machu Picchu. The terraces got fresh water needed for agriculture from the Urubamba River and the springs in the area.
Machu Picchu is divided into two sectors: urban and agriculture. There is also an upper town where the temples are found and a lower town where the warehouses are located.
The Mystery of Machu Picchu
While much about its construction has been revealed, scholars still cannot answer many questions concerning Inca literature and folklore. Questions such as who lived in the city have yet to be given definite answers.
Archaeologists believe a population of 750 persons lived here. But, only 200 skeletons have been discovered at Machu Picchu, often described as “mysterious”. It is the “lost city” of the Incas and a palace complex of the ruler Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui.
What Animals Live in Machu Picchu?
The Inca population is believed to have totalled about 750, who lived with domestic animals in Machu Picchu. Llamas are particularly mentioned in this context as the Incas used them as domestic animals from which they got food and clothing. The llamas were also offered as sacrifices to the gods in the Inca civilisation.
Besides the Llamas, other animals lived in Machu Picchu besides the Llamas, such as the vizcacha, lizards, spectacled bear, gallito de las rocas, giant hummingbird, jargon Andino, and butterflies. Of all those animals, only the llamas still live in Machu Picchu.
The Climate in Machu Picchu
This place is famous for its wet, humid summers and dry frosty winters. Annual rains fall for almost six months, from March through October.
Activities to do in Machu Picchu Today
You are in Machu Picchu, then you have hiked your way up and will go back down at the end of your visit to Machu Picchu, the most tangible legacy of the Inca civilisation.
Walks up to the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu could be long or short depending on which trail you choose: the Inca Trail, the Inca Jungle Trail or the Salkantay Walk. All the ways lead to Machu Picchu, located between the Peruvian Andes and the Amazon Basin.
Hiking could take up to four days along the steep Inca Trail, which is 26 miles long. The maximum elevation of this classic trail is 13,828 feet. This is a moderate but arduous trek, and good fitness is recommended ahead of the uphill and downhill climbs.
Having reached the top of Machu Picchu Mountain, hikers are advised to stay for about 15 minutes to take pictures in the middle of the scenic trails and sacred mountains.
You will need an hour and a half to reach the top starting from the Machu Picchu citadel at 2,430 metres. Special entry tickets are required for the Machu Picchu Mountain hikes and should be purchased beforehand.
Staying in Machu Picchu
If you are not in a hurry, you could spend a couple of days in Machu Picchu, enough time to visit the lost city of the Incas and head up to the citadel twice.
You could also spend the night in the town of Aguas Calientes at the Belmond Sanctuary Lodge, a five-star hotel. There is another hotel of the same category in Machu Picchu – the Sumaq Machu Picchu Hotel.
A more luxurious stay is offered in the elegant Inkaterra Machu Picchu Pueblo resort near the train station and the Machu Picchu Hotel near the foot of the mountain.
Things Forbidden in Machu Picchu
While in Machu Picchu, make sure not to go beyond established routes – this is forbidden! Remember, you should not, in any case, avoid the designated entrance.
Hikers are also not allowed to feed the animals in the city or make any noise that might disturb the sacred nature of Machu Picchu. No speakers, musical instruments or megaphones are permitted in the Inca city.
How Transformers Had a Positive Impact on Tourism in Machu Picchu
This part of Peru is a favourite tourist destination for relaxation and adventure at the same time – it has become a great attraction even more after filming Transformers: Rise of the Beasts.
The inflow of tourists to Peru will likely increase, particularly to Machu Picchu. The big production helped revive tourism to the imperial city in Peru, giving tourists an excellent reason to visit Machu Picchu to see the locations of the film saga.
The filming of Transformers: Rise of the Beasts positively impacted Peru, pumping more than 10 million dollars into the national economy. A museum also opened at the Rázuri del Cercado School in Cusco, showcasing replicas of the cars and robots used to film the movie. You might find that museum interesting during your visit to Machu Picchu in Cusco.
Machu Picchu is considered one of the most important tourist attractions in Peru. Tourists mainly come to visit the site of the ruins of the Inca Empire that once dominated this place, leaving behind one of the new seven wonders of the world. So, next time you travel to the South American country, consider visiting Machu Picchu – the site where Transformers: Rise of the Beasts was filmed.