The great Machu Picchu city!

Trip Start Oct 26, 2009
Trip End Nov 26, 2009

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Flag of Peru  , Sacred Valley,
Friday, November 20, 2009

Explorer, professor and archaeologist Hiram Bingham set out as the leader of the Yalle Peruvian Scientific Expedition in 1911 with a local policeman acting as guide and interpreter. While camped at Mandor Pampa, the expedition met local farmer Melchor Arteaga, who claimed that there were extensive ruins hidden on a nearby mountaintop. Bingham convinced Arteaga to show him the site by offering him one sol for his services. Bingham, Arteaga, and the policeman made the steep climb, eventually coming upon present day Machu Pichu, which despite being covered in centuries of growth, Bingham described as breathtaking.

The mist-cloaked lost city of the Incas is arguably the most famous sight in all of South America. The citadel is built of rock at an altitude of 2.350 meter, on the saddle of a mountain flanked by sheer drops to the Urubamba Valley below. It was never sacked by the Spanish as they failed to find it, instead Machu Picchu was simply abandoned and left to nature to reclaim. The exquisite Inca stonework has withstood the ravages of time, but its function remains baffling. Experts speculate that it served as a place of worship, a sight for tracking stars, and the ninth Inca emperor, Pachacútec's country hacienda.

This Inca city, comprising an upper and lower section with houses, temples, fountains, plazas, and agricultural terraces, clings to a mountain ridge, linked by scores of stairways and paths, and watered by natural springs. No other civilization has managed to assemble so many colossal stone blocks so seamlessly. Cut with stone or bronze tools, the edges of the stones were rubbed smooth until they merged together perfectly, like a jigsaw. Just how the Incas transported the granite they chiseled from the mountain remains a talking point for scholars today.

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