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Machu Picchu – Peru

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It hard to believe without having a look at Machu Picchu that at an empire existing decades ago could build something so urban and amazing. The date of the site goes back to the 15th century and it is located about 2,430 metres above the sea level. The location of Machu Picchu is in the Cusco Region in Machupicchu district of Peru. Below the mountain ridge of Machu Picchu stands a sacred valley through which the Urubamba River flows. Archaeologists believe that the estate belonged to the Inca emperor Pachacuti who lost his empire under the attack of the Spaniards in 16th century.

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The natural surroundings of the Machu Picchu are also extremely beautiful with the Andes meeting the Amazon basin. The site of historic significance has walls and terraces which seem to be creations of nature on the rocks of the mountains. The total area covered by the historic site ranges to 32,592 hectares of slopes of mountains which includes peaks and valleys. The presence of the spectacular Machu Picchu was revealed to the world in the year 1911 by the American historian and archaeologist Hiram Bingham.  Ever since, the importance of Machu Picchu in front of the tourists has never gone down.  It was not only declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site but also listed amongst the Seven Wonders of the World.

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The construction of the entire Machu Picchu complex is known to be made of dry stone walls and is divided in to three structural parts, namely the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the three Windows. The total number of structure on the site is 200 and these are understood to have religious, ceremonial, astronomical and agricultural significances for the people of Ina civilization. Amongst these stone structures are also terraces which appear in a criss cross manner. A study of the site explains the existence of two layers to differentiate the farming parts from the residential parts which are also separated by a large square. Despite these understandings there are stills many facets of the Machu Picchu which remain a mystery to the world.

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In the current times the Machu Picchu faces a variety of threats from both natural sources like earthquakes and weather phenomenon and also from the tourists visiting the site in large numbers. The expeditions which have taken place in the area are known to have reduced the cultural heritage of the site. Generating a chunk of revenue for Peru, Machu Picchu’s tourist number reached 400,000 in 2000. The presence of hotels, cable cars, and other tourist complexes are known to be increasing the pressure on the culture ruins of Machu Picchu. It is already a no fly area and even the landing of helicopters has been prohibited in the recent times.

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In 2011 restrictions were imposed on the number of visitors entering Machu Picchu daily and the number was fixed to 2,500 per day. You can travel to Aguas Calientes by train and then take a bus to the ruins. There is also the Ina Trail which you can take by walking from Aguas Calientes.

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