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Machu Picchu 

Machu Picchu is considered to be the most spectacular archeological site in Latin America. This lost city located in a mythical and exceptional place, was rediscovered at the beginning of the XXth century by the explorer Hiram Bingham. The words Machu Picchu come from the Quechua, Old Moutain. This city is situated on top of a moutain that overlooks the valley of the Urubamba river. In the past, it was used as a worship centre and as an astronomical observatory. The Inca Pachacutec is said to be at the root of the construction of Machu Pichu. It is possible that the site was abandoned during the conquest by the Spaniards. Machu Pichu can be divided into two main areas : the agricultural sector with terraces and the urban sector where about 1200 persons lived. Today, one can get to Machu Picchu by the famous Inca trail.

Machu Picchu attractions :

Agricultural sector : this is a succesion of agricultural terraces which were used for farming and also as a protection from water erosion caused by rains.

The viewpoint : It is situated just as you enter the site and it gives a stunning view over the agricultural and urban sectors.

The temple of the Sun : This is a circular building with trapezoidal windows. This place was certainly used as an observatory.

Mausoleum or tomb : Located under the temple, this grotto hosts sacred niches as well as an altar. It was maybe the tombstone of a great Inca.

Ceremonial Baths : There are 16 basins which were probably used to do ritual ablutions.

House of the High Priest : There begins the religious neighbourhood. This house faces the Main Temple.

Temple of the three windows : This megalithic construction is surrounded by the sacred plaza. Its name comes from its huge size. It has seven niches and a sculpted stone was used as an altar.

The sacristy : It is the place where the priests got prepared. It has trapezoidal niches and a stone bench. Two stone blocks are also fascinating with their 22 and 32 angles.

Intiwatana : It is known as the "hitching post of the sun" in quechua. It is a carved rock used by the astronomers to predict the solstices.

The Prisoners' area : This neighbourhood is a labyrinth of cells and pathways with a flat condor-shaped stone in the centre, which was certainly used as a sacrifice place.

Intipunku : "The sun gate" in Quechua, it gives access to Machu Picchu when you come from the Inca trail. This gives a stunning view over the lost city, especially at dawn.

Cerro Machu Picchu : You will need about 2 hours to reach the top of the Machu Picchu and to overlook the Inca trail, the terraces and the city.

The Inca bridge : A 20-minute path goes over the terraces and gives different views of Machu Picchu. At the end of the path, you will be able to admire the bridge.

Wayna Picchu : "young peak" in Quechua. You can climb to the top in order to overlook the Machu Picchu site, the Vilcanota canyon et the surrounding mountains. It takes about 2 to 3 hours to reach the top.

The Inca Trail : This trek lasts between 2 to 4 days and it is the path used by the Incas to reach their place of worship. The 4-day trek starts at km 82. During this trek, you will have the chance to admire various landscapes and archeological sites : Llactapata ruins, dead woman' pass (highest point of the trek), Wiñay Huayna temple, and finally the Inti Punku " the Sun Gate".



 

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