Ever dreamed of visiting some of the greatest archaeological marvels of ancient times? Among other notable names, the Machu Picchu in Peru is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a must- visit location choice. Located in the Cuzco region of Peru, the complex layout of palaces, temples and houses span out between the Andean mountain range, at more than 2000ft above sea level. Since it remained undiscovered by the Spanish conquerors, most of the site remains intact and tourists are presented with a relatively accurate example of an Inca engineered structure.
Why Should You Travel to Machu Picchu?
The site is an example of the ingenuity and constructional skills of the Incan Empire. Studies show that at the time of construction, the Incas lacked the knowledge of how to work with iron, steel and the concept of wheels was not fully evolved. The absence of such provisions makes the construction of Machu Picchu all the more awe-inspiring.
The walls are made of dry stones, polished and held together without mortar. The layout also comprises of elaborate water distribution systems and extensive terraces to support the crops. The designing is done in such a manner that water is conserved, and erosion is made as low as possible. The aqueduct also takes advantage of the sloping region to supply water to the various crops, buildings and baths.
The layout divides into sectors with different purposes. There is an agricultural sector, an urban sector, a religious sector as well as an upper and lower town. The temples dominate the higher regions, while the farmers and others are believed to have occupied the lower parts.
The Incas have left no indication or written information as to the purpose behind their creation, but it is generally believed that Machu Picchu served as a retreat for the Incan rulers. Despite the brilliance of the construction, only a few members were actually in residence here.
The location of the site remained undiscovered for a long time, until a professor at Yale University Hiram Bingham was shown the location of Machu Picchu by a local Peruvian guide in the early 1900s. The hike to the site took him nearly 6 days.
Now access to the site is through the legendary Inca Trail that takes four days or more, depending on your choice. Local guides are available for hire and it is considered best to travel in a group and well stocked with necessary provisions for the hike.
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Lots of places, so little time! Machu Picchu does not disappoint when it comes to the choice of locations to visit. Starting off with the Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary, other areas of interest are Intipunku (sun Gate), Sacred Plaza with its breath-taking views, Sacristy with its well-defined niches, the Principal Temple, Ceremonial Baths, Temple of the Condor, Temple of the three windows, Temple of the Sun, Prison Group and Intihuatana among other locations. Each of them is designed for a specific function and several of the structures are said to generate the feeling of being travelled back in time, to a moment when they were still active.
Experienced tourists’ advice is that visiting is best conducted in the early morning or late afternoon when there is relatively less tourist rush.