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					Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is the most visited tourist attraction in Peru. It is
                 70 kms northwest of Cusco.
Machu Picchu was constructed around 1450, at the height of the
Inca empire, and was abandoned less than 100 years later, as the
          empire collapsed under Spanish conquest.
The presence of numerous temples and ritual structures indicate
  that Machu Picchu held spiritual significance for the Inca.
        Over the centuries, the surrounding jungle grew
       to enshroud the site, and few knew of its existence.
It wasn’t until 1911 that american historian and explorer Hiram
    Bingham brought the “lost” city to the world’s attention.
Machu Picchu stands in the middle of a tropical mountain forest,
              in an extraordinarily beautiful setting.
 It was an amazing urban creation of Inca Empire at its height;
          its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem as if
they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments.
     The natural setting, on the eastern slopes of the Andes,
               encompasses the upper Amazon basin
             with its rich diversity of flora and fauna.
The space is composed of
    140 constructions
   including temples,
 sanctuaries, parks and
 residences, houses with
     thatched roofs.
Machu Picchu is a UNESCO
     World Heritage site.
   It is Peru’s most visited
tourist attraction (400,000 in
  2003) and major revenue
   generator. A no-fly zone
       exists in the area.
From the top, at the cliff of
Machu Picchu, is a vertical
  precipice of 600 meters
 ending at the foot of the
    Urubamba River.
                                                   Machu Picchu is located
                                           about 2,350 meters above sea level.
                                         All visits to Machu Picchu at some point
                                      leave from Cusco, which can be reached via a
                                       domestic flight from Lima, or international
                                               flight from La Paz, in Bolivia.




 Many tourists take morning train from Cusco (3.5 hours journey) explore
the ruins for a few hours and return to Cusco in the afternoon. From Puente
    Ruinas station buses take tourists up the mountain to Machu Picchu.
           Thousands of tourists hike the Inca Trail – each year,
                      a two to four day journey on foot
     from the Urubamba valley up through the Andes mountain range.
They require travelers to be reasonably fit. The trip involves sleeping in tents.
    Bingham and others
hypothesized that the citadel
     was the traditional
birthplace of the Inca people
or the spiritual center of the
 “virgins of the sun,” while
 curators of a recent exhibit
have speculated that Machu
 Picchu was a royal retreat.
All of the construction in Machu Picchu
 uses the classic Inca architectural style
  of polished dry-stone walls of regular
  shape. The Incas were masters of this
technique, called ashlar, in which blocks
  of stone are cut to fit together tightly
             without mortar.
  How they moved and placed enormous
blocks of stones is a mystery, although the
general belief is that they used hundreds of
men to push the stones up inclined planes.
       There are more than
one hundred flights of stone steps
    – often completely carved
   in a single block of granite.
 It is unknown if the Incas left
   behind any documentation
about building process because
  the writing they employed,
  called khipus, has not been
           translated.
 Llamas roam
freely over the
  entire site.
 Llamas keep
 the grass tidy
     and are
   capable of
reaching many
      spots
inaccessible by
 lawnmowers
    or sheep.
    In 1913, the site received
    significant publicity after
the National Geographic Society
 devoted their entire April issue
        to Machu Picchu.
The only hotel is the Machu Picchu Sanctuary Lodge.
     You pay US$715 (double), a hefty premium
   because of the location, location, and location.
           Guests of this hotel can enjoy
     the magnificent isolation of the sanctuary.

				
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