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Machu Picchu Information
For most visitors to Peru, a trip to the historical city of Machu Picchu, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is located at a height of 8000 ft. is a dream come true. A majority of the travelers visiting Peru believe that their holidays would be incomplete without adding a Machu Picchu tour to their itineraries. Considered to be one of the most recognized symbols of the great Incan empire, the Lost City of the Incas ranks among the most beautiful ruins in the world. Its historic charm, spectacular location and architectural beauty also make Machu Picchu the most important archaeological site in South America.
Machu Picchu was discovered by Hiram Bingham, an American archaeologist, in the year 1911. Its story is quite remarkable, because we still don’t know the importance that the city held for the Incas. Most researchers state that the city was a luxury retreat for the rich and elite in the Incan civilization. It is believed that the city was built around AD 1430, but was abandoned about 100 years later as the Spanish began to conquer Incan territories. What makes this city so unique is that due to its well protected and hidden location, it wasn’t plundered by the Spanish. As a result, Machu Picchu emerged as one of the most important and sacred historical sites in the world.
When to Go
Travelers can enjoy the Machu Picchu tour throughout the year, but the crowds and the weather can be quite unpredictable. Generally, the best season to visit Machu Picchu is between the months of July – August. The best time to visit the site is early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
The city has been built in traditional Inca style with dry-stone walls that have been polished to perfection. The primary buildings in the city are the Temple of the Sun, Intihuatana and the Room of the Three Windows. All three buildings are located in an area known as the Sacred District of Machu Picchu.
About 2000 visitors visit Machu Picchu daily during the peak season. With most preferring a day tour rather than an overnight halt, there are so many attractions to see and so little time to see them. Here are some of the most important attractions that you simply cannot ignore when you go for a Machu Picchu tour.
Visitors arriving via the Inca Trail shall first experience the beauty of the Sun Gate. Those arriving via the alternate route need to backtrack along the ruins.
The Temple of the Sun is located close to the summit of the main city and is famous for its incredible stonework. Although you should be able to see incredible stonework everywhere, the Temple of the Sun is famous as the pinnacle of Incan stonework. For a picture perfect view, observe the temple from the side as you descend the stone staircase into the main plaza.
Intihuatana is a sacred stone that was integral to the Incan empire. At midday on 21st September and 21st March, the sun stands right above the pillar, without casting any shadow. The Incas believed that the sun was “tied” to the rock at this point of time and they held their sun-worship ceremonies on these two days.
Huayna Picchu and the Temple of the Moon are located at the furthest end of Machu Picchu and require a strenuous hike. Despite the effort, most people embarking on a Machu Picchu tour actually look forward to the experience because of the fascinating views. The temple of the moon is a natural cave that has been carved with Inca stonework.