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Machu Picchu National Park

Machu Picchu National Park

Another Inca bridge was built to the west of Machu Picchu, the tree-trunk bridge, at a location where a gap occurs in the cliff that measures 6 metres 20 ft. Built around and abandoned at the time of the Spanish conquest, thick tangles of vines and trees shielded it from the outside world for centuries. Today many choose to follow in his footsteps by hiking to the ruins on the legendary Inca Trail. But why was it built—and deserted?

Machu Picchu

Thingvellir National Park Rift Valley

The complex Machu Picchu National Park palaces and plazas, temples and homes may have been built as a ceremonial site, a military stronghold, or a retreat for ruling elites—its dramatic location is certainly well suited for any of those purposes. The ruins lie on a high ridge, surrounded on three sides by the windy, turbulent Urubamba River some 2, feet meters below.

Scholars are still striving to uncover clues to the mysteries hidden here high in the eastern slopes of the Andes, covered with tropical forests of the upper Machu Picchu National Park Basin. Machu Picchu appears to lie at the center of a network of related sites and trails—and Glacier National Park To Great Falls Mt landmarks both man-made and mountainous appear to align with astronomical events like the solstice sunset.

The Inca had no written language, so they left no record of why they built the site or how they used it before it was abandoned in the early 16th century. Landscape engineering skills are in strong evidence at Machu Picchu. The plus terraces preserved soil, promoted agriculture, and served as part of an extensive water-distribution system that conserved water and limited erosion on the steep slopes.

When Machu Picchu was built some years ago the Inca had no iron, no steel, and no wheels. Their tremendous effort apparently benefited relatively few people—some experts maintain that fewer than a thousand individuals lived here. Today Machu Picchu is far from isolated.

But why was it built—and deserted? Today many choose to follow in his footsteps by hiking to the ruins on the legendary Inca Trail. Train trips from Cusco take only a few hours.

When to Visit.

Essential Machu Picchu

Ziplining Rocky Mountain National Park

One prominent artifact was a set of 15th-century, ceremonial Incan knives made from bismuth bronze ; they are the earliest known artifact containing this alloy. The area is subject to morning mists rising from the river. We start off in Ollantaytambo, once the royal estate of Emperor Pachacuti who conquered the region and built the town that shares its name with the formidable stone fortress that clings to a massive cliff above the community. When Machu Picchu was built some years ago the Inca had no iron, no steel, and no wheels.