Macchu Picchu

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Machu Piccu
Aguas, Peru

The Inca Trail & Machu Piccu
This 3-5 day journey is widely considered to be the most spectacular trekking experience on the continent. Its route passes through a 13,000-foot Andean pass beyond which lie some of the most astounding artifacts of the Inca civilization. Most of these attractions, unlike the majority of large pre- Columbian structures, lay completely undisturbed for hundreds of years, and much of the trek's fascination is imparted by the sensation of trekking into a region sealed off from time. Starting with the sentry post of Runkuraqay, hikers pass through increasingly splendid ruins, surrounded all the while by ice-capped mountains and forests.

The trail ends at the astonishingly well-preserved sacred city of Machu Picchu, having retraced the route by which the Incas themselves ascended to this ceremonial centre. Gazing across the ruins, with its perfectly set stairways, dwellings, fountains and still functional aqueducts, is a haunting experience; so intact is the city that at times it seems its residents have only recently walked away. How Machu Picchu's legacy ended is a great mystery. It was once filled with priests, artisans, and the mamacunas, a group of select virgins who dedicated their lives to the sun god. The Spanish have no records of the city, and when it was rediscovered in 1911, its walls overrun by the nearby jungle, only 173 skeletons were found on the site.

7,000 feet above sea level and nestled on a small hilltop between the Andean Mountain Range, the majestic city soars above the Urabamba Valley below. The Incan built structure has been deemed the “Lost Cities”, unknown until its relatively recent discovery in 1911. Archaeologists estimate that approximately 1200 people could have lived in the area, though many theorize it was most likely a retreat for Incan rulers. Due to it’s isolation from the rest of Peru, living in the area full time would require traveling great distances just to reach the nearest village.

Separated into three areas - agricultural, urban, and religious - the structures are arranged so that the function of the buildings matches the formof their surroundings. The agricultural terracing and aqueducts take advantage of the natural slopes; the lower areas contain buildings occupied by farmers and teachers, and the most important religious areas are located at the crest of the hill, overlooking the lush Urubamba Valley thousands of feet below. Hikers, tourists, and the early explorers describe similar emotions as they climb their way through the Inca Trail. Many call the experience magical. Glancing out from the Funerary Rock Hut on all the temples, fields, terraces, and baths seems to take you to another time. Blending in with the hillside itself, many say the area creates a seamless and elegant green paradise, making it a must for anyone who travels to Peru.

Intiwatana Mt. Huayna Temple of the Condor
Temple of the Sun    

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