Situated high in the mountains of peru at nearly 2500 metres above sea level is the incomparable wonder of Machu Picchu, sometimes known as the “Lost City of the Incas”. Located around 80 kilometres north west of Cusco the site was rediscovered by modern society in 1911 and has been the subject of a huge amount of interest and study ever since.
The small but extraordinary city is thought to have been built during the 1400’s and abandoned only a hundred or so years after it’s completion in 1572 or thereabouts as a result of the Spanish Invasion of South America. Despite the coming of the Spanish, the site was never discovered or pillaged by them and it is one of the most un-touched of the Inca sites that are known and is an important cultural site. The city is virtually invisible from below and this is one reason that it may have remained undiscovered for so long.
Not surpisingly, Machu Picchu is World Heritage listed. Numerous theories about the use of Machu Picchu exist and continue to be debated. The prevailing theory is that it was built as an estate for the Incan Emporer Pachacuti, however other theories speculate that it was used as a prison, an administrative centre and others. It appears that the city was entirely self sufficient and there are terraces surrounding the city that were used for agriculture to feed the population. Many mysteries remain to be unravelled including one of the key ones being how the massive stones from which it was built were placed.
Today it is a popular tourist destination, visitors can travel to the site by either walking the famous Inca Trail which takes around 4 days or by the easier method of catching a train from Cusco to the bottom of the mountain in the town of Aguas Calientes.
A visit to the site is an experiece which will stay with you forever, the site has a mystical air about it and will leave you with a profound respect for the lost civilisation which built it. The surround landscape is breathtaking, it is no wonder it was recently voted as one of the 7 modern wonders of the world.