Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary (Urubamba)
Monday - Sunday: 6.00 am - 4.00 pm. Closes at 5.00 pm.
110 km north-west of Cuzco (4 hours by train), to Machu Picchu, from where it is another 8 km to the citadel (20 minutes by bus).
The jewel in the crown of Inca architecture, and Peru's main tourism destination. Its name translated into Spanish means “Old Mountain”. It has also been called the “Lost City of the Incas”. Built high up on a mountain, the citadel was hidden for centuries under thick vegetation, only to be discovered by accident in 1911, by the American Hiram Bingham. The citadel is believed to have been built in the 15th century under the Inca Pachacútec. The archaeological site is divided into two sectors, stretching over approximately 20 hectares. One sector was focused entirely on agriculture, with terraces up to 4 metres high that appear to hang off the steep mountain slopes. The other sector, the urban part of the citadel, has various buildings and plazas in perfect harmony and perfectly distributed. Highlights include the Temple of the Sun, the Intihuatana or solar observatory, the Temple of the Three Windows, the Main Temple and the Condor Sector. An extremely impressive carved monolith, 3 metres high and 7 metres at its base, known as the Sacred Rock, is yet another highlight. The stone blocks used in the citadel’s construction come from nearby areas. The finishing on the walls shows different qualities and techniques, with one of the most complete being the central wall of the Main Temple, with blocks that fit together perfectly.The Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary also features an ecological reserve with invaluable flora and fauna, including varieties of orchids and animal species such as the Andean cock-of-the-rock. In 1983, the site was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and in July 2007, in a worldwide vote, it was chosen as one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.