Machu Picchu

By Rtype909 (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia Commons


Machu Picchu is the name for the ruins of a well-preserved Incan city in the Andes Mountains of Peru. The pre-Columbian (before the age of European exploration) city was thought to be built around 1440. It lies at an elevation of 7,711 feet above sea level.

Archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was actually a "resort" town for Incan nobility. It featured a palace, a courtyard, houses, parks, stone stairwells, water fountains and several temples dedicated to Incan Gods. There was even a large astronomical clock known as The Intihuatana. No more than 750 people, however, lived in Machu Picchu at one time.

Machu Picchu was actually re-discovered in 1911 by Yale University historian Hiram Bingham III. Today, it is the most famous Incan landmark in the world. Nearly 400,000 people visit the remote ruins every year.