Amazing Places: Inca Trail to Machu Picchu
One of the most famous trekking routes in the world, pass through 500 year old archaeology in what is considered one of the greatest adventure experiences on the planet.
Machu Picchu is a 15th century Inca site located on a ridge between Huayna Picchu and the Machu Picchu mountains, situated in Peru. This ridge sits at 7,970 feet above the sea level. The city itself consists of more than 150 buildings on the site, ranging from baths, houses, temples and sanctuaries. All of these amazing buildings were made using a technique called ldquo ashlar, which means that no mortar is used but instead the stones are cut to make them fit together.
Incas were South American Indians who during the Spanish conquest in 1532 ruled an empire along the Pacific coast, from the Northern border of Ecuador to the Maule River in Central Chile.
Machu Picchu means 'old mountain' in the native language of Peru and was built as a fortress city for the aristocracy of Cuzco. Machu Picchu was abandoned after the fall of the Inca empire, yet it remained intact until its discovery by explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911. Machu Picchu is now one of the worlds top tourist destinations for hikers and explorers.
There are two ways to get to Machu Picchu, the Inca trail is the original access point to the mountain ridge, this trail is 25 miles long and takes approximately 4 days to hike. The altitude at the highest point is 13,776ft. There is a second way to access Machu Picchu, a train from Cusco runs along the floor of Urubamba.
Machu Picchu receives over half a million visitors each year, who all flock to see its true beauty. Machu Picchu has been listed as one of the seven wonders of the world since 2007, named alongside the Taj Mahal, Christ the Redeemer, the Colosseum, Petra, Great wall of China and the Chichén Itzá El Castillo.
After a four day hike you are rewarded by the many amazing sights you will see upon reaching Machu Picchu. The watchman's hut is the perfect way to get a good view of everything that the city has to offer. Just outside of the watchman's hut is the funerary stone, which even though researchers are unsure to exactly what the stone was used for, it is believed that is was likely used for sacrificial purposes. The Incas are believed to have had a dark side in which they are thought to have sacrificed children to the gods in the belief that it would prevent disasters from happening.
The temple of three windows is a beautiful location within the royal sector of the city, this temple is made of much larger stones, many weighing in excess of 3 tonnes, making this build even more impressive, knowing that the Incas only had the technology to move these huge pieces of rock by using ropes and levers.
Another impressive temple found at Machu Picchu is the Temple of the Sun, which shows off its stunning stonework, it is believed this temple was used as an astronomical observatory.
Found near to the Temple of the Sun, is the Royal Tomb, which is also known as the Palace of the Princess, although no bodies have ever been found there.
Two of the most recognisable structures found on Machu Picchu are the Intihuatana stone and the sacred rock, these two huge stones take the shape of the mountains that sit behind them. These being the two mountains, Huayna Picchu and Putucusi, it is believed that poetry and musical recitals took place around these impressive rocks.
Some anthropologists say that the Intihuatana Stone, nicknamed the "Hitching Post of the Sun," was believed to tether the sun in its annual path across the sky.
The unbelievable craftmanship, hidden beauty and rich history are why Machu Picchu has made it to our Amazing Places list! If you have ever visited Machu Picchu let us know your thoughts in the comments and feel free to share any pictures with us! Don't forget to follow us on Facebook for more stories like this.