"The Holy City of the
"The Lost City"
World Heritage Site by UNESCO
It is a mystical place, a monument to divinity, where people can feel that
they are a creation of God. The high sense of spirituality that inhabits this
place seems to transport its visitors to a place where everything "in an
unimaginable way" is possible.
It is a place where strange forces of nature allow the individuals to reach
an incomparable cosmic state, a state that can only be experimented in Machu
It is one of the most popular archaeological sites of the world, and
therefore, the most visited attraction in Peru.
The Citadel of Machu Picchu (in Quechua language "Old Mountain")
is known throughout the world for its amazing ruins and its unusual location on
a high mountain overlooking the mighty currents of the Urubamba river.
Even today nobody has been able to solve the mystery how the builders and
designers managed to transport the huge blocks of limestone to the top of the
mountain required for the construction of the city.
Probably built during the 15th century in a very difficult location, it is
the greatest achievement of the Incas architects due to the intelligence and
dare demonstrated by their design. It has an extent of 13 sq/km and its main
functions were military and religious. It used to be surrounded by an outer wall
with a height of 6.00 m. and a width of 1.80 m. and it is estimated that it was
inhabited by 10000 people. Built of limestone (the outer and inner walls), wood
(doors and frames), and ceilings made of straw.
Machu Picchu is located 2300 meters above sea level (7546 ft.), at 112 km.
(70 miles) from Cusco, in the valley of
Urubamba in the lowest part of the Sacred
Valley of the Incas in a area of direct access to the upper jungle. Without
doubt, Machu Picchu was part of a very big complex of fortresses which defended
the Andean lands in Sacred valley of any assault from native people out of the jungle.
Having Huayna Picchu as a background they divided Machu
Picchu in four sectors. Northwest is located the area that was probably used for
the main religious purposes, that includes a Plaza named by Hiram Bingham as
"Sacred Plaza", also the temple of the "Three Windows",
"The Sacred Temple", the "Priests Mansion", and the
"Intihuatana" that is a large block of limestone used during Inca
The "Intihuatana" (in Quechua = place where the sun is bonded) is a
solar observatory that allowed the Incas to keep track of the seasons of the
year and the flow of time based on the shadows caused by the sun over the
The largest residences are located on the northeast of the complex. The most
luxurious residences and also a watch tower are located on the southwest of the
complex and therefore it is assumed that this part of the Citadel was probably
the heart of all the urban activities.
To the southeast of the complex are located the smallest and most humble of
the buildings built around very narrow streets, close to numerous terraces
constructed for agricultural purposes as denoted by the existence of a very
complex aqueduct system in this area. In the lowest part of the terraces is a cemetery, where during a search were discovered 135 skeletons and 109 of them
were identified as females. This fact has allowed historians and archeologists
to believe that Machu Picchu's inhabitants were mostly females that could have
been the chosen ones of the Inca, fleeing from Cusco when it was overrun by the
Conquerors of Spain and seeking refuge in Machu Picchu that, by the way, was
never discovered by the Spaniards.
Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu
At 2,430 meters above sea level, on a mountain site of extraordinary beauty,
in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, Machu Picchu was probably the most
amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height, with its giant walls,
terraces and ramps, which appear as though they have been cut naturally in the
continuous rock escarpments. The natural setting on the eastern slope of the
Andes encompasses the upper Amazon basin with its rich diversity of species.
The minimum recommended time to visit Machu Picchu is one day.