One of the most well known archeological sites of the world, and as a result, the most visited attraction in Peru. The fortress of Machu Picchu is famous throughout the world for its astonishing ruins and its different location on a high mountain overlooking the forceful flow of the Urubamba river.
Even today it remains a mystery of how these people were able to move the extremely large blocks of limestone to the top of the mountain for the construction of the city.
Built during the 15th century in a location hard to construct in, it is the achievement of most importance and wonder, how the Incas were such amazing architects, without the technology we have these days, due to their abilities to understand nature and ambitiousness displayed in their artful conceptions. Machu Picchu has a range of 13 sq/km and its principle uses were military and religious. It used to be encircled by an outer wall with a height of 6.00 m. and a width of 1.80 m. and it is guessed that it was resided in by 10000 people. Made of limestone (the outer and inner walls), wood (doors and frames), and ceilings made of straw.
The archeological center of Machu Picchu are the most important attraction of Peru. The lost city of the Incas is located at 120 kilometers of Cusco, in the Urubamba Valley. Since its discovery back in 1911, by the American researcher Hiram Bingham, there have been many hypotheses regarding the construction of the city. However, it is known that the Incas built the city in this rough area of the jungle to avoid access and possible attacks from their enemies. Machu Picchu was the most important Incas center for worship and astronomic observation.
Machu Picchu has two big important areas: to the south, the agriculture area is made up of terraces, aqueducts, etc. To the north, the urban area is the city with its temples, observatories, workshops, and sacred burial plots. There are three ways to reach Machu Picchu: by helicopter (30 minute flight), by train (4 hours to Aguas Calientes), and through the trekking route known as the "Inca Trail" (a four to five day journey). The Inca trail to Machu Picchu is one of the most spectacular routes in the world, part of the 23,000 kilometers of road that the Incas built all around South America.
The climb to the Huayna Picchu is one of the best experiences. The name Huayna Picchu means "young mountain", compared to Machu Picchu "the old mountain". From the top of the young mountain you have an extraordinary view of the Machu Picchu complex and of the path that leads to the terraces on the edge of the abyss as well as of some small ruins of temples. Beyond the myths, Machu Picchu is the testimony of the knowledge and the greatest artistic expression of the Incas. This city catches the attention of all its visitors who admire its magnificent beauty.
Location of Machu Picchu: 112 km northwest of Cusco<
Altitude of Machu Picchu: 2400 m.a.s.l
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Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu Mountain are two mountains peaks which tower over the Machu Picchu archaeological site. To climb one of the mountains you need to purchase a pass in combination with your Machu Picchu entry ticket-passes cannot be purchased separately from entry ticket, and once entry ticket has been purchased a mountain pass cannot be added or cancelled.
This is the more popular of the two optional mountain treks but it also can be very crowded. 200 people start climbing between 7am-8am, and 200 people start between 10am-11am so in total 400 people climb every morning. The trail is quite steep and takes about 1.5 hours to climb up and down - people who have trouble with vertigo may not enjoy this trek. There are some interesting archaeological ruins on the top of Huayna Picchu mountain.
This hike is less popular than Huayna Picchu but no less beautiful. Machu Picchu mountain is located on the other side of the ruins from Huayna Picchu. There are 500 passes available daily. You can begin your climb between 7 and 11am. The trail is less steep than Huayna Picchu but it is a longer hike (takes about 3 hours total).
Check this amazing link out for views from the Huayna Picchu mountain and Machu Picchu mountain (it will open with the Huayna Picchu mountain, click on the right side of the picture and the other views will open) Click Here
Machu Picchu by train
If you have a few days to visit Machu Picchu, We recommend to take the train, From Ollantaytambo station to Machu Picchu is 2hrs and from Poroy station to Machu Picchu is 4 hrs aprox.
There are two train companies to Machu Picchu.
This company have three different services HIRAM BINGHAM train, VISTADOME train and EXPEDITION train.
This company have two different service to Machu Picchu, EJECUTIVO train, TOURIST Train.
Agua Calientes is the small village 20 minutes for the ruins of Machu Picchu. There is a variety of hotels, hostels and bed and breakfasts available. Usually it is best booked before the trip to Machu Picchu. Accomodation is included in all packages with tour and travel agents.
Hiking to Machu Picchu
If you have longer time to visit Machu Picchu, We recommend you take the Hiking to Machu Picchu. Like Classic Inca Trail, Salkantay trek, Lares Valley Trek and other alternative trek to Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu is both, the best and the least known site of the Incas as it is not mentioned in any Spanish conquistador´s chronicle so that contemporary archaeologists can not do anything more than just speculate on its functions. Native Quechuan farmers had known about Machu Picchu for centuries. Over the years a lot of work has been done on digging up and examining the site. Despite these efforts, many unanswered questions remain.