www.machupicchuperu.info

  

Home

................................

Introduction

................................

History

................................

Guided Tour

................................

Practicalities

................................

Hotels

................................

Andean Traditions

................................

Conservation

................................

Links

................................

Machu Picchu Guide - Introduction

       

“Here the gold wool came off the vicuña
to dress the loves, the burial mounds, the mothers,
the king, the prayers, the warriors”
 
Pablo Neruda: The Heights of Machu Picchu

 

Machu Picchu. One of the world’s truly unforgettable sights. A lost Inca city high in the Andes, shrouded in magic and mystery. Probably the finest example known to man of architecture joined in such glorious harmony with the landscape.
 
And what a landscape! Set on a plateau 2400 metres above sea level, Machu Picchu astounds visitors with its remoteness. Two fierce-looking craggy peaks tower above all else, fringed by a ring of mountains, while far below the silvery Urubamba river snakes through the Sacred Valley. The broad arc of the terracing echoes the sweep of the mountainside as, further up, the city’s superlative stonework basks in the sunshine.
 
On seeing the UNESCO World Heritage site now, it’s hard to believe that the American explorer Hiram Bingham was initially underwhelmed when he first stumbled across it in 1911 during his quest for the final Inca stronghold of Vilcabamba. After a long weary climb up the Urubamba canyon, he pushed on to the ruins to spend just a few hours there documenting the buildings. He didn’t return until the following year, by which time the significance of his discovery had dawned on him. In a letter to his wife, he wrote: “Machu Picchu is far more wonderful and interesting than Choquequirao. The stone is as fine as any in Cusco. It is unknown and will make a fine story.”
 
And so it did. The rest, as they say, is history. Although the story behind why Machu Picchu was built ultimately remains a riddle. Was it, as some have suggested, a centre for coca production? A monument to its creator, the Inca Pachacuteq? A religious and ceremonial complex? Bingham himself believed its strategic and inaccessible location indicated that it was a fortress. And how did it come to remain untouched at the time of the Spanish Conquest when every other Inca site of note was badly looted and vandalised?
 
This website doesn’t pretend to have the answers to such questions but it will help you to get the most out of a visit. Follow our concise Guide To The Ruins to plot a route that takes in all the highlights; read the History section before going to gain a greater insight into its past; and in Practicalities, you’ll find everything you need to know about admission prices and opening hours, how to get there - whether by train or on foot along the Inca Trail - as well as where to stay. There’s also information on Andean Traditions, a look at conservation issues in The Future Of Machu Picchu and a Links page to other related websites.
 
The Chilean poet Pablo Neruda once wrote of his experience of Machu Picchu: “I felt infinitely small in the centre of that navel of rock, the navel of a deserted world, proud, towering high, to which I somehow belonged.” To contemplate the magnificence of this fabled city is indeed humbling, reminding us of the prowess and foresight of a civilization from a bygone age. It will soften even the stoniest of hearts.

 

   

www.machupicchuperu.info  Text Copyright Anne Noon. Photos Copyright Mike Weston. All rights reserved 2007-2010

This is a non-commercial website sponsored by Peru Treks www.perutreks.com Website designed by Andean Vision