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The Lost City of the Incas

Machu Picchu: The 7th Wonder of the World

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Machu Picchu is often dubbed the best known archeological site in South America.

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Check this out this video on how we came to Machu Picchu via an adventure through Incan wild:

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Machu Picchu is the site of an ancient Incan city, 8,000 feet up in the Andes of Peru.

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It's one of the most familiar symbols of the Incan Empire.

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It seemed only appropriate to end our 3 months in Peru with a visit to one of the most spectacular sets of ruins in the world.

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In spite of the crowds (see the video above), this long-anticipated highpoint of our trip was breathtaking.

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Archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as a summer estate for the Incan Emperor, Pachacuti.

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The 9th Incan king ruled in the early 1400's, and was responsible for expanding the empire and making Cuzco the capital.

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Machu Picchu is often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas" because it was never discovered by the conquering Spaniards and was virtually forgotten until the early part of the 20th century.

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Although known locally, it fell into disrepair after the Incas were conquered.

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It remained unknown to the outside world until American historian Hiram Bingham brought it to international attention when he "rediscovered" it in in 1911.

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Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls.

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Many of the walls are constructed of hand-cut stone that fits perfectly together without need of mortar.

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This bunny seemed happy that some of the walls were in disrepair.

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One of our favorite spots was the Room of Three Windows.

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The step-shaped rock in the foreground is the Chakana or Incan Cross, well it's half a cross, which served as a sort of solstice calendar. Every June 21st, the Chakana cross will reflect the full cross as a shadow.

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Perhaps the most famous viewpoint in the city is the Temple of the Sun.

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It is home to Inti Watana, a ritual stone associated with the astronomic clock or calendar of the Inca. This sundial is carved at the top of a natural pyramid's summit.

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In the same complex, they also carved this kite shape compass. Researchers think the shape mimics the Southern Cross constellation.

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The Incans grew all their food on terraces.

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Now, the park keeps the grass down with, you guessed it, llamas!

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The central courtyard was likely a market for trading goods from the Amazon jungle in the north.

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After exploring Machu Picchu, it was time to trek Huayna Picchu, which is the peak above Sarah's head here.

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At the entrance to Huayna Picchu is the Wank-a or Sacred Rock. This stone replicates the Inca's sacred mountain, Putukusi which is directly behind it.

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Only 400 people are allowed to ascend the trail daily at appointed times because the stairs are irregular, steep, and dangerous.

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We loved the architecture of these stairs near the summit.

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The view from the top was stunning!

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The way down had some tight squeezes.

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Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

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Machu Picchu is also one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

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We were so lucky to experience TWO of the Seven Wonders on our trip to South America.

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Thank you so much for following our six-month journey through South America. We appreciate your support, encouragement, and well-wishes.

On to the next adventure!

Con Amor,

Sarah and Nathan

Posted by wintermaasz 14:30 Archived in Peru

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