Machu Picchu

Located in the Eastern Cordillera in Cusco, Peru, Machu Picchu is an Inca Citadel (believed to have been a royal estate or sacred religious site) built in 1450, the most iconic landmark of the Inca civilization and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Embedding into the mountain and 2,400 meters above sea level, the mysterious Machu Picchu is among the greatest architectural achievements and cultural centers of the Incas and the Old World. It is so perfectly built that the structures are able to survive to earthquakes, pretty common in Peru and specifically in Machu Picchu, as it was built on top to two fault lines.

Since its discovery, the citadel has attracted millions of tourists, becoming the most visited attraction in Peru. Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

Machu Picchu


It is presumed that Machu Picchu was built between 1450 and 1460 by the emperor Pachacutec Inca Yupanqui. Unfortunately, the incas only remained there for 80 years, until the arrival of the Spanish conquerors, when the civilization decided to abandon the city, although the Spanish did not known about this spectacular hidden city. It remained unknown until 1911 when Hiram Bingham, an american archeologist arrived together with a local Quechua, looking for Vilcabamba instead. (Although it is presumed german Augusto Berns arrived there in 1867, the site remained unknown)

Machu Picchu was used as a royal state, the place where the emperor used to live, in addition to the serving staff and some other religious specialists and temporary workers.

Over 200 structures make up for the Sanctuary, dividing them in two areas: the agricultural center, featuring incredible terraces of incredible engineering, ensuring good drainage and soil fertility while also protecting the mountain from erosion, and the urban center, featuring religious, ceremonial, astronomical and residential areas.

It was assumed that Machu Picchu was the Lost City of Vilcabamba, the hidden city where the Incas escaped to after the arrival of the Spanish. However, it was proved in 1956 that the lost city of Vilcabamba is located in the jungle 50 miles west of the citadel.

Note: It rains pretty often in Machu Picchu, so if you decide to go, be prepared. It is advised to bring sunscreen and insects repellent as well.