Machu Picchu is a world-famous 15th-Century Inca citadel perched 2,430m above sea level on a mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley. One of the historical highlights of the world and a phenomenal icon of Peru, the ruins have been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 1983 and was voted on of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007.
Machu Picchu was most likely built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472), and is thought to have been built in around 1450 but abandoned after the Spanish conquest in the 1530s. Although the city remained known about by the local Quechua people, it was undiscovered by the Spanish during the colonial period and remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram Bingham discovered it and brought it to international attention in 1911.
Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style with intricately-designed dry-stone walls built without mortar - it has three primary structures: the Inti Watana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows. Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed and restored, and the iconic steep mountain of Huayana Picchu looms over the site. The city consists of more than 200 buildings, from houses to temples, storage buildings and public spaces. It's fascinating to be able to gaze down on the city from above and imagine how it would have looked during the height of the Inca empire.
A visit to Machu Picchu is a major highlight of any adventure tour to Peru. A genuinely magical place, catching your first glimpse of the Inca city through the early morning mist is definitely a moment you’ll never forget.