Awe Inspiring Beautiful Architecture and Surrounding Countryside
The ruins of Machu Picchu, sometimes referred to as the ‘Lost City of the Incas’, are one of the most beautiful, awe inspiring and enigmatic ancient sites in the world.
The city is 5 square miles big and is extraordinary, mysterious and inspiring to behold. Machu Picchu is located 2,430m (7,970 ft) above the rumbling Urubamba river in the Urubamba Valley on a mountain ridge, about 70 km (44 miles) northwest of Cusco. From below the city is not visible. The city is completely self contained, watered by natural springs and encircled by agricultural terraces adequate to supply food for the entire populace residing within.
The ruins found in the city are cloaked in clouds and mystery. There are temples, palaces, baths, storage rooms and around 150 houses to be found, all in an extraordinary form of preservation. The structures are carved from the gray granite of the mountain top. A lot of the building blocks weigh 50 tons plus, are sculpted and fit together without mortar and such precision a knife blade cant even be inserted in the joints. This is a true wonder for architects and visitors of Machu Picchu alike.
The roads of the Inca are some of the most interesting constructed by pre-Columbian cultures in South America. This network of roads intersected at Cusco, which is the capital of the Inca Empire, one of them leading to the city of Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu is probably the most renowned symbol of the Inca Empire. The site has been designated a United Nations Educational World Heritage Site since 1983. It has also been the subject of concern regarding potential damage caused by tourism. In 2003 alone around 400,000 people visited Machu Picchu. Peruvian authorities insist that there is no problem.
In 1981, an area of 325.92 square kilometres surrounding Machu Picchu was made an ‘Historical Sanctuary’ of Peru. This area, not just limited to the ruins themselves, includes the regional landscape with its flora and fauna, emphasising the abundance of orchids found there.
History and Legends
The Inca are believed to have used the city of Machu Picchu for secret ceremonies from the 1400’s onwards. However, there are myths and legends that suggest the site was regarded, with awe, as a sacred place since a much earlier time.
It is believed the site was picked for its unique location and geological features. The silhouette of the mountain range behind Machu Picchu is meant to represent the face of the Inca looking skywards, and the largest peak, Huayna Picchu (meaning Young Peak), represents his nose.
Continue reading… Machu Picchu, Lost City of the Incas, Peru Part 2