What to see in Machu Picchu, where it is located, description of the site, excursions, information on the itinerary on foot and the history of the lost city of the Incas.
The archaeological site of Machu Picchu, an ancient Inca city, is located in Peru about 100 km north-west of Cuzco, in the Cordillera de Vilcabamba of the Andes mountain range, at an altitude of about 2,430 meters above sea level, above the river canyon Urubamba, between the Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu mountains.
In the Quechua language the name derives from the terms machu (old) and pikchu (top or mountain).
The western world came to know of Machu Picchu in 1911, when the archaeologist Hiram Bingham headed an expedition dedicated to the search for Vilcabamba, the lost city of the Incas, later associated with the ruins of Espiritu Pampa, was led on site by Melchor Arteaga, a Quechua-speaking place.
The houses of Machu Picchu were probably built and inhabited from the mid-fifteenth century to the first half of the sixteenth century, in a place of extraordinary beauty.
The area consists of two parts, the agricultural one, with the terraces for cultivation, and the urban one, corresponding to the inhabited center, whose stone constructions, the walls, the terraces, the ramps and the stairs were harmoniously inserted in the natural environment, and constitute a magnificent example of the interaction between man and nature.
The city, surrounded by dizzying cliffs and therefore in a position very protected by nature, was probably a kind of summer residence for the Inca emperor and nobility.
Since 1983 the site has been part of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites.