Situated at 2,430m above sea level on a mountain above the Sacred Valley, Machu Picchu was an estate of the Inca royalty. Abandoned before or around the time of the Spanish Conquest, the lost city was not known to the Western world until 1911 when American Historian Hiram Bingham rediscovered Machu Picchu. Compared to the early 20th century when most buildings in the site lay in ruins, today many parts of Machu Picchu have been restored for everyone to admire. Much research has been done over the past century, but according to the UNESCO, many of the mysteries remained resolved.
As UNESCO puts it, “the Inca City of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is the articulating centre of its surroundings, a masterpiece of art, urbanism, architecture and engineering of the Inca Civilization. The working of the mountain, at the foot of the Huaya Picchu, is the exceptional result of integration with its environment, the result from a gigantic effort as if it were an extension of nature.” While we wandered around the site, we could truly witness the powerful integration of manmade architecture and natural landscape. The stepped terraces, temple structure incorporated into natural rock formation, and the stone pyramid all reveal the same story of harmony between Machu Picchu and the natural world. For us this feeling was very powerful, especially after we had firsthand experienced of the Andean landscape from our three days on the Inca Trail.
Temple of the Sun
Mummy vault (royal tombs) at Temple of the Sun
Alternative entrance to the Temple of the Sun.
Terrace of the Ceremonial Rock and Guardhouse at the top.
Terrace of the Ceremonial Rock
Stone quarry at Machu Picchu
A viscacha on an Inca wall.
Principle temple at Intiwatana Pyramid (damaged by earthquakes)
View from Intiwatana Pyramid.
Terraces at the side of Intiwatana Pyramid.
East urban section
Lane going up to upper section
East urban section
East urban section and the Huaya Picchu.
Overview of Machu Picchu with llamas.
Inca Bridge and original Inca Trail
* * *
Read other posts on Peru Trip 2010
1. Peru Trip 2010
2. Bumpy Arrival, Lima & Arequipa, Peru
AREQUIPA & COLCA CANYON
3. Monasterio de Santa Catalina, Arequipa, Peru
4. Plaza de Armas, Arequipa, Peru
5. Volcanoes and Vicuna, Pampa Canahuas Natural Reserve, Patahuasi, and Patapampa, Peru
6. Yanque, Colca Canyon, Peru
7. Cruz del Condor, Colca Canyon, Peru
8. Farming Terraces, Colca Canyon, Peru
PUNO & TITICACA
9. Road to Titicaca, Colca Canyon to Puno, Peru
10. Afternoon on Taquile Island, Titicaca, Peru
11. Morning on Taquile, Titicaca, Peru
12. Inka Express, Puno to Cusco, Peru
CUSCO & SACRED VALLEY
13. Pisac & Ollantaytambo, Sacred Valley, Peru
14. Salinas de Maras, & Moray, Sacred Valley, Peru
15. Lucuma Milkshake & Plaza de Armas, Cusco, Peru
16. Saksaywaman, Cusco, Peru
17. KM 82 to Wayllabamba, Inca Trail, Peru
18. Wayllabamba to Pacamayo, Inca Trail, Peru
19. Pacasmayo to Winay Wayna, Inca Trail, Peru
20. Winay Wayna to Machu Picchu, Inca Trail, Peru
21. Machu Piccu, Inca Trail, Peru
22. Machu Picchu in Black and White, Inca Trail, Peru
23. Afterthought, Inca Trail, Peru
LAST DAY IN CUSCO & LIMA
24. Farewell to the Incas, Cusco, Peru
25. Last Day in Peru, Lima, Peru