A UNESCO World Heritage Site located in a tropical mountain rainforest of Peru in the Urubamba Valley some 7,000 feet above sea level, Machu Picchu is one of the most well known and historic sites in the world today. Site of the most amazing creation of the ancient Incan Empire, this massive once bustling empire was built during the height of the Incan Empire. Massive walls and terraces seem to be part of the surrounding natural areas. Set on the eastern slope of the Andes, it is part of the upper Amazon Basin which aside from its history is also well known for its rich ecologically diversity as well.
By far the most popular attraction in Peru, Machu Picchu welcomes thousands of tourists each year. Considered one of the seven wonders of the world, it is a complex of palaces, plazas, homes and ancient temples. Most likely a military stronghold, it is believed to have been a retreat for the ruling empire and is surrounded on three sides by the massive Urubamba River, it was well protected however, despite this, Machu Picchu was lost and eventually reclaimed by nature that is until it was rediscovered on 24 July 1911, Hiram Bingham.
Today this once remote location is now accessible to most tourists either by tour bus or for the more “pure” visitor, by hiking the ancient Inca Trail however, this is not for everyone. For those willing to take this relatively long tour, taking from two to four days to hike, they must sign up with a tour group as independent travel is now forbidden due to heavy use and impact.
Tourists wishing to enjoy a more leisurely trip to this historic icon may now enjoy a leisurely train trip from the city of Cuzco and take just a few hours. Tours offered at Machu Picchu give visitors the chance to walk in the steps of the Incan through tours of the famous sites including the Intihuatana Stone, the Gate of the Sun, Temple of the Sun, the Moon Temple and the Temple of the Three Windows.
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