Machu Picchu is the most important site of the vast Inca Empire. This UNESCO World Heritage site is often referred to as “The Lost City of the Incas” and is one of the most famous and spectacular archaeological complexes in the world — a visit to Peru would not be complete without it. Machu Picchu is considered one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and recently awarded as the Most Ecological Destination in South America.
Set against the dramatic backdrop of lush dark green vegetation of the jungle which drops abruptly away, the history and function of this impressive citadel thought to date from the last days of the Inca Empire remain an enigma. The city has an altitude of 8,000 feet, and is high above the Urubamba River canyon cloud forest.
The Lost City divides into two sections: agricultural and urban. The agricultural zone is formed by the so-called farmers’ district and many terraces built into the steep mountainside. The urban section contains the civilian (residential zones, canals) and religious areas (temples, mausoleums, plazas, royal houses). While the workmanship of the civilian structures is uneven, the religious constructions were built with an eye for perfection.
Most of the structures are built of white granite blocks cut with bronze or stone tools, and smoothed with sand. The blocks fit together perfectly without mortar, although none of the blocks are the same size and have many faces; some have as many as 30 corners.