Machu Picchu, Cusco, Peru
A visit to Machu Picchu will probably be the highlight of any trip to Peru. It is one of the ancient world’s most amazing feats of construction engineering, and its age makes it all the more remarkable. The thought of reproducing such a feat today even with all the modern tools, knowledge, and technology available just adds to the mystique.
What the ‘city’ actually is remains a mystery to this day, and there is much speculation surrounding it. The most accepted theory is that it was a location for the most important people in the Incan society to retreat to as a holiday destination.
Visitors to the site will be impressed by the fantastic ruins but also by the fact that the city was only discovered by the modern world at the beginning of the 20th century. Machu Picchu is located high up in the Andes Mountains and the way it is hidden away is very impressive for such a large construction. Even when the Spanish came to South America and conquered the Inca’s, they did not discover Machu Picchu.
There are many ways that a visit to the city can be arranged. A popular option is it being the end point for those who have been hiking the Inca Trail, which is the most popular hiking route on the continent. If you are not hiking then the easiest way to organise a one or two day excursion is to start in the nearby town of Cuzco.
Machu Picchu is a busy destination and even in the off season you will find the place crowded. Be prepared for a lot of queuing, as you will have to wait for a long time to get on the bus as well as to get into the city and perhaps even wait to see some of its more famous structures.
When you are inside the city it is possible to take a guided tour, and this will allow you to learn a bit about the city. A problem with the tour is that even the world’s leading experts do not know much about the site, so you will find that much of what your guide says is simply speculation. Interesting it might be, but probably not that educational.
The stone work in the city is incredible and there is no better example of this than the Temple of the Sun. This is in the centre of the main part of the city and the stone work that it is made out of fits perfectly together. For something that was made over five hundred years ago, this technology and engineering achievement is astounding.
More Machu Picchu Info
Machu Picchu has recently been voted one of the modern wonders of the world, and when you visit it is not difficult to understand why. The architecture and engineering of the Incas is incredible, but when you combine it with the location – it is simply breathtaking.
You get to the site by first arriving at the town at the bottom of the peak known as Aguas Calientes. You can then buy a bus ticket that takes you up the mountain winding around and around and up and up until you arrive.
You need to devote several hours to really discovering the site and experiencing it. Machu Picchu is a pre-Columbian site that was built by the Incas in around the 14th or 15th centuries. The Incas are well known for their incredible stonework, fitting hand hewn stones together without mortar. This site was known to some locals, but was only introduced to the world stage after being “discovered” by Hiram Bingham.