For many visitors to Peru and even South America, a visit to the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu ranks at the very top of their bucket list.
Machu Picchu is the site of an ancient Inca city, high in the Andes of Peru. Located at 2,430m (8,000 ft), this UNESCO World Heritage site is often referred to as “The Lost City of the Incas”.
In a spectacular location, this awe-inspiring ancient city was never revealed to the conquering Spaniards and was virtually forgotten until the early part of the 20th century when rediscovered in 1911 by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham.
Now, at Machu Picchu you, too can explore the fantastically-built palaces, temples and courtyards, as well as the flourishing neighbouring hillside.
While the Inca people certainly used the Andean mountain top to erect many hundreds of stone structures from the early 1400’s, legends and myths indicate that Machu Picchu (meaning ‘Old Peak’ in the Quechua language) was revered as a sacred place from a far earlier time.
Whatever its origins, the Inca turned the site into a small (5 square miles) but extraordinary city. Invisible from below and completely self-contained, surrounded by agricultural terraces sufficient to feed the population, and watered by natural springs, Machu Picchu seems to have been utilized by the Inca as a secret ceremonial city.