Machu Picchu

In 1450, the Incas built an estate high above the Sacred Valley, some 80km north of Cusco, their capital. It's name today: Machu Picchu. In 1572, after the fall of their empire, the city was abandoned. The Spanish would never discover it. For 339 years, it lay empty up in the mountains, until an American academic "found" it again in 1911. It is the most recognizable symbol of the Inca Civilization. It is certainly a great testament to their engineering prowess: thousands of feet above a valley, on a steep mountain top, most of the buildings still stand solid despite hundreds of years of neglect, erosion, and even earthquakes.

It's use: still debated to this day. Most likely it was a retreat for Inca royalty. It almost certainly had been designed a sacred place to honor the natural landscape. The layout of the city seems dedicated to the sun, the mountains and the sacred valley.
peru 156  Before going to Machu Picchu, most of us must go through Aguas Calientes, The city at the base of Machu Picchu mountain. Untitled Panorama1  Walking up to the classic viewpoint of Machu Picchu - pictures speak for themselves. peru 184a peru 171 peru 200 peru 204
peru 239 peru 216 MP peru 166  Many different copies of the same picture, I know. I know. But does it get any less spectacular? peru 214 Peru 231
peru 236 peru 237 peru 252 peru 253  At the highest point in the ancient estate, this stone is beleived to be a astronomic clock or calandar. peru 228 peru 255
peru 259  A view from Machu Piccu from above, Huayna Piccu. peru 232  Huayna Picchu is the mountain in the background here, overlooking the ancient city. peru 267 peru 270 peru 281 peru 291
peru 292 peru 297 peru 308  By mid-morning, the tourists have flooded the city! peru 315 peru 127  Aguas Calientes peru 108  Ollantaytambo, another Inca complex in the sacred valley. It is the starting point of the classic Inca Trail.
peru 117  Patchacuti, the great emperor of the Incas. peru 120 peru 142 peru 112  Locals in Ollantaytambo.