Built by the Incas in about 1450...at the height of the Inca Empire...it was abandoned during the Spanish conquest about one hundred years later. And so it remained...a city hidden to the the rest of the world until an American historian discovered it in 1911. Now it is the largest tourist attraction in South America.
Machu Picchu is located about 8,000 feet above sea level...on a mountain ridge high above Sacred Valley and the Urubamba River...about 80 kilometers northwest of Cusco.
It is quite possible (and popular) to hike to Machu Picchu along the Inca trail...about four days of trekking. We went the easy way...via train and then bus.
We arrived to find the ancient city shrouded in clouds...appropriate for a place known as 'the lost city'!
As you can see...we weren't the only ones at Machu Picchu on that particular day.
Since our visit fell during the rainy season...the crowds weren't bad. Because it has become such a popular destination...they now allow no more than 2500 people per day onto the site.
We entered through the main gate...trapezoidal Inca style.
The Temple of the Sun...used for ceremonial purposes.
The pyramid holding the Intihuatana...a sacred stone to the Inca peoples.
The terraces were used for agricultural purposes...and crops were grown right to the top of the mountain.
The llamas seemed oblivious to the tourists...
...and wandered freely. I will spare you the photos of the all the buildings, gates, sacred plazas and temples...since I have already forgotten the names and significance of most. But trust me...it's quite amazing that these structures were built so long ago of huge granite rocks...seemingly to heavy to be moved without machines.
By mid-afternoon...most of our group felt they had done enough stair climbing and called it a day. A few of us went back to hike the Inca trail to the drawbridge. It was perfect! The clouds and drizzle were gone...as were the morning crowds. The sun came out.
The Inca drawbridge lies beyond the top terraces...along the trail that hugs the sides of the cliff.
We shared the trail with the llamas.
It was a wonderful experience...exploring this incredible site. Though the Incas had no written language...they left behind this creative masterpiece of stone. How did they do it? No one really knows.
I'll be back...with more of Peru. Sometime soon!
Thanks for stopping by...
I remember when studying history in school how this place really stuck out in my mind. It is absolutely beautiful! You took some wonderful photos and the place still holds such mystery as to how it was built so long ago. I don't think I'd be able to walk along some of those paths along the sides of the mountain though. It makes me shake inside just to look at the photos. ;) Thanks for sharing these. They really are beautiful. PamReplyDelete
That must have been an amazing experience. It's a place I have always been fascinated by. Isn't it amazing that the city just lay there, undiscovered, for so many years?ReplyDelete
Well, thanks for that brief History Lesson. Beautiful and wondrous!ReplyDelete
Enjoyed my travels this morning :-)
First time here...and wow! I love the photos and the lesson...ReplyDelete
It really looks like a magnificent site. Those terraces are truly amazing and built by skilled artisans.I want some for my backyard.ReplyDelete
Magnificent photos, Judy. I loved seeing this. We never got to Machu Picchu but visited other Inca and pre Inca ruins in Ecuador. Their building skills are so impressive. Can you imagine running along that narrow Inca trail?ReplyDelete
Spectacular photos Judy! Someone else I met had hiked here and said it was stunningly beautiful. I can see with all the photos you shared. Thank you and have a wonderful week.ReplyDelete
So incredible. Love all your great photos!ReplyDelete
Judy, wonderful, wonderful....your photos and your description. Machu Picchu is just a fascinating place. I cannot imagine how in the world they built it. It is truly amazing. Thank you so much for sharing this experience with us.ReplyDelete
Farm Gal in VA
Wow, Judy! Such amazing photos! Many believe Machu Picchu is a mystical place and it certainly looks other wordly. I'd also love to visit it one day!ReplyDelete
That is out of this world amazing! Your pictures and descriptions are wonderful Judy. Someday, the farmer and maybe me would like to visit this fascinating place. How did you cope with the elevation? Did it bother you at all? You look fantastic!ReplyDelete
I see the word amazing has been used, but that is what I also wanted to say... it is had to imagine how this city was built, on the side of a steep mountain, all by manual labor. Something about it reminded me of Pompei, a whole different continent away, yet similar building style. What a great experience to see this kind of history!ReplyDelete
What a wonderful post and what wonderful photos. Someplace I've always wanted to visit but will probably never get to. But that's okay -- photos like yours bring the place right to me. Thanks! :) xoxoxReplyDelete
Wow! That looks like a real highlight. I can see why you really enjoyed those four days. It even looks amazing in the clouds....amazed at how they terraced the land for agriculture. We can hardly handle a hill alone terracing. So happy that the two of you met your goals. That's fantastic,ReplyDelete
It is hard to come up with a new way of describing this post. You truly saw an amazing place. That trail looked a bit treacherous in spots! You are so brave. That agricultural terracing is so amazing. To see a glimpse of the beauty of what might have been without knowing all that might have been as far as rituals is lovely.ReplyDelete
I just sent this page to a NYC blog friend who is planning a trip to Peru. I know she will enjoy seeing your experiences here.