What is Machu Picchu?

Embarking on a journey to discover the world’s most captivating historical treasures, one name that consistently tops the list is Machu Picchu. An emblematic icon of the Inca civilization, it is nestled high in the Andean mountains of Peru, offering a breathtaking fusion of natural beauty and ancient architecture. But what is Machu Picchu, and what makes it so enchanting? Let’s unravel the mystery of this awe-inspiring citadel together.

The Marvel of Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca citadel located 7,970 feet above sea level in the Sacred Valley of Peru. Often referred to as the “Lost City of the Incas,” it was rediscovered by American historian Hiram Bingham in 1911. Today, Machu Picchu stands as a testament to the Inca’s architectural prowess and is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

1. Architecture & Design

The ancient city of Machu Picchu was built using a technique called ashlar, wherein stones were cut to fit together without mortar. The Incas’ skill in shaping and placing these stones so precisely is still evident today, as the structures have withstood the test of time and countless earthquakes. The site features over 150 structures, including temples, residences, and agricultural terraces.

2. History & Significance

Although the exact purpose of Machu Picchu remains a mystery, it is believed to have been a royal estate or a religious retreat. The site was abandoned during the Spanish conquest, and its location remained unknown to the outside world for centuries. This isolation helped preserve the citadel, allowing modern-day visitors to marvel at the achievements of the Inca civilization.

3. Exploring Machu Picchu

To experience the magic of Machu Picchu, begin your journey in the city of Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire. From there, you can take a train ride through the Sacred Valley or embark on the famous Inca Trail, a multi-day hike that offers a deeper connection with the Andean landscape.

While at Machu Picchu, don’t miss the opportunity to visit the iconic Sun Gate or climb the Huayna Picchu mountain for a stunning panoramic view of the citadel.

Making the Most of Your Machu Picchu Adventure

A journey to Machu Picchu is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, so it’s crucial to plan your trip carefully. Here are some essentials to help you prepare:

  1. Accommodations: Book your stay in Cusco or the nearby town of Aguas Calientes for easy access to Machu Picchu.
  2. Transportation: Familiarize yourself with the various transportation options to reach the citadel, such as trains, buses, or guided treks.
  3. Food & Drink: Indulge in the rich and diverse Peruvian cuisine to fuel your adventure.
  4. Health & Safety: Keep yourself informed about altitude sickness, vaccinations, and other health and safety concerns.
  5. What to Pack: Consult this [list of must-have travel items](https://cuscocity.com/20-must-have-travel-items-for a-memorable-trip-to-peru to ensure you have everything you need for your Machu Picchu expedition.
  1. Cultural Experiences: Immerse yourself in the rich culture and history of the region by visiting other nearby archaeological sites and participating in local activities.
  2. Questions & Answers: Equip yourself with knowledge by exploring these 10 popular questions about Machu Picchu and the Inca Trail.

Extend Your Adventure in Peru

While Machu Picchu is undoubtedly the crown jewel of Peruvian attractions, the country has much more to offer. Don’t miss out on the chance to explore the vibrant city of Cusco, with its rich history, bustling markets, and lively streets. To make the most of your visit, check out the best things to do in Cusco city.

The Sacred Valley, too, is a treasure trove of archaeological sites, picturesque villages, and beautiful landscapes. Discover the best things to do in the Sacred Valley to enrich your Peruvian experience.

Finally, delve deeper into Peru’s history by visiting other notable sites and landmarks in this three-part series: Part I, Part II, and Part III.

Embark on Your Machu Picchu Adventure

Now that you have a deeper understanding of what Machu Picchu is, it’s time to start planning your unforgettable journey to this mystical city. Whether you choose to explore the ancient citadel on foot or take in the panoramic views from atop Huayna Picchu, you’re sure to leave with a newfound appreciation for the Inca civilization and the natural beauty of Peru.

So, what are you waiting for? Pack your bags, book your tickets, and get ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime!