Machu Picchu

Many countries have mountain ranges with beautiful scenery and Peru itself is richly blessed in this respect.Peru’s diverse geography and fabled Inca history provide a dramatic backdrop for an array of adventure travel possibilities. Machu Picchu is just one of them. Located at 2,430 metres, has lured explorers, poets and pilgrims to its mist-wreathed ridgetop ever since its discovery by the American explorer Hiram Bingham in July, 1911. Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is also the end point of the most popular hike in South America, the Inca Trail. One of Machu Picchu‘s primary functions was that of astronomical observatory. The Intihuatana stone (Hitching Post of the Sun) has been shown to be a precise indicator of the date of the two equinoxes and other significant celestial periods.

Early morning in beautiful Machu Picchu, 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level. Most archaeologists think Machu Picchu was built around AD 1400 as “an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti” and is often referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas.” It is probably the most familiar icon of the Inca World. Around the time of the Spanish Conquest in 1572, the Incas abandoned their empire and the Peruvian jungle swallowed Machu Picchu. It wasn’t rediscovered until 1911 by American historian and explorer Hiram Bingham. There are about 140 structures or features, ranging from temples, to sanctuaries, parks, and residences, with more than 100 flights of stone steps carved from a single block of granite.

Stairs at Machu PicchuPeru

Rainbow over the Machu Picchu

Tourists are on the Incan terraces. The ruins of Machu Picchu are divided into two main sections (Urban and Agricultural Sectors) which are divided by a wall. The Agricultural Sector is further subdivided into Upper and Lower sectors, while the Urban Sector is split into East and West sectors, and further separated by a wide plaza.

They were measuring astronomical alignments during sunrise on the solstice. It was every bit as awesome as it sounds, and considerably awesomer than this photo conveys.

Temple of the Sun. According to archaeologists, the urban sector of Machu Picchu was divided into three great districts: the Sacred District, the Popular District to the south, and the District of the Priests and the Nobility. Located in the first zone are the primary archaeological treasures: the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun and the Room of the Three Windows. These were dedicated to Inti, their sun god and greatest deity.

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