Author: Tatyana Kogut.
Surrounded by enchanting silence, 80 km from Cuzco, on a steep mountain washed by the Urubamba River, there stands one of the most beautiful archaeological sites in the world, Machu Picchu (Quechua: "Old Peak"), "The Lost City of the Incas". This is a mystical place, some even think it is filled with positive energy. Machu Picchu impresses with its monolithic nature and architecture, its balance and harmony, thanks to which it fits well to the surrounding mountains.
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The credited discoverer of the cite is Hiram Bingham, an archaeologist from the North America. The place was found in 1911 on top of a flat mountain, hidden from people's eyes. The unapproachable Machu Picchu is still a mystery, and the more they dig, the more riddles they find. The main question is: what was it aimed for? Why would Incas make so much effort to built their city at such an inaccessible place?
iMage by LeoKoolhoven
During the excavations they found 173 human bodies, including 150 female ones. However, neither gold, nor other treasures were found. It seems that people left the city all at a time. But what made them leave the place — natural cataclysms, diseases, wars or something else — we still don't know it for sure. Neither Spanish, nor Indian chronicles contain any information about Machu Picchu. Some scientists say this was a sanctuary for the Incas aristocracy, priests, best craftsmen, and, what is more important, for Virgins of the Suns. The Incas did their best to make their city very convenient, functional and long-lived. There are still excellent aqueducts standing there which provide Machu Picchu with clear water, some of the constructions look incredibly «new», like they were left just recently. Residential buildings occupy just a small part of this territory, the rest of it are temples, observatories and other religious constructions. That is why other researchers say this was a settlement built to control local economy, or to make discoveries about the surrounding world.
The whole city is built of stone and is surrounded with green terraces, used to plant crops and flowers. You can feel that local people really loved their city, and this love is shared with everyone who arrives to Machu Picchu. Some even go to "The Lost City of the Incas" to spend their time sitting on the stones deeped into their thoughts.
Machu Picchu is located 2,400 meters above sea level.
How to get there. By train: 110 km Cuzco to Machu Picchu Pueblo (3-4 hours), then 20 minutes on a bus.
Hotels: there are some medium three-star hotels in Machu Picchu Pueblo, toilets, call boxes and a restaurant by the entrance to the archaeological site.
Things to do: sightseeing, historic and archaeological studies, shopping for craft works. It is also excellent to enjoy local flora and fauna.
Spend a minimum of 1 day to study Machu Picchu and 5-7 days to visit nearby attractions, lying between the site and Incas path.
Weather: Machu Picchu can be visited at any time of the year, but the best period for a visit is: April — October. November — March is a summer time, but there are scattered showers and the humidity level is high. April — October is sunny and dry.
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