Machu Picchu "the lost city of the Incas"
- Overview and History
It is an important tourism site of Peru famous for the ruins of an ancient Inca city, located 7,000 feet above sea level. It was probably built by Pachacuti Inca as a royal estate and religious retreat in 1460-70. But with the catastrophic collapse of Inca state structure following the arrival of the Spanish, these historians were scattered and forgotten. Located near Cuzco, it was discovered by Yale professor Hiram Bingham discovered the ruins buried beneath dense undergrowth in 1911.
Machu Picchu site is almost invisible from below, It is situated on a small hilltop between two Andean peaks. These are one of the best ruins of the world and anyone who is visiting Peru should not miss the opportunity to experience it. Separated into three areas - agricultural, urban, and religious - the structures are arranged so that the function of the buildings matches the form of their surroundings. Its believed that not more than 800 people lived here at a given time. The view from the Funerary Rock Hut offers a dramatic overview of the whole complex. Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1983. It's not allowed to bring food or water bottles into the site, but few people still take it as it's expensive to buy on the site, even if you do then leave if asked by officials, and do not litter. There is also a cafeteria near the site.
What to see / popular attractions:
Thousands of people come here every day, it is recommended to take a guided tour which provides a deeper insight of this site. The urban sector is in the Northeast and the agricultural sector is located on the southeastern part of Machu Picchu. Popular attractions include
Temple of the Sun - This construction is shaped like a semi-circle and built on solid rock, an existing granite block shaped to blend with the natural curves, with a diameter of 10.50 meters. Located near the top of the main city and one should play a close attention to the incredible stonework on the temple. Surrounding the Sacred Plaza are the most important buildings of Machu Picchu.
There is stone located on a hill made up of several terraces. The visitor can gain access to the stone via 78 well-crafted steps.
Located in a four-sided spot flanked by two three-sided rooms, features a large monolithic rock sculpture.
Temple of the Three Windows
It is located West of the main square, has a large rectangular floor. Its name comes from the fact its main face has three windows and two blind bays.
The temple is located North of the Sacred Square. There is also a luxury hotel and restaurant and the bus drops the tourists right there.
To the South of the complex, between the Temple of the Sun and the Royal Palace, the area houses a series of water fountains
Watchman's Hut or the Guard House:
A great place to take pictures, the Watchman's Hut is located just before the main gate and is a perfect place to see the urban, agricultural parts of the city and the green Urubamba Valley.
Other popular attractions include: the Condor, the Sun Gate, Waynapicchu hill, the Moon Temple and the Great Cave.
How to get here:
There are frequent buses to take you up to the ruins or even hike. Although many people choose to hike the Inca Trail to get to Machu Picchu, many more are restructured by time and thus have to take the train, It only operates in the high season
Popular places to stay are:
In Aguas Calientes area: Gringo Bill's Hostal, Hostal Continental, Hostal Machu Picchu
Close to the Ruins and is quite expensive: Machu Picchu Pueblo Hotel, Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge enjoys a prime position within the sanctuary. Phone +51 84 21 1039/38.
Eastern slopes of the Vilcanota mountain range, The two rivers pass through this area - Apurimac and Urubamba Rivers , Urubamba is also famous for white water rafting.
Machu Picchu Weather:
Due to its location in subtropical zone, the climate is mild, warm and often damp. Average daytime temperature is 13 degrees Celsius. November to March is the rainy season, June to October is the dry season and a good time as the weather is mild to plan your travel.
Flora and Fauna
This area is rich in Flora and Fauna you will find isonayes, alisos, palm trees, ferns and more than 90 species of orchids. At the end of the day a small herd of llamas enters Machu Picchu from the terraces near the Funerary Rock Hut and graze on the grass.