Machu Picchu "old peak", is a 15th-century Inca site located 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level. It is located in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province, Machupicchu District in Peru.
It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley which is 80 kilometres (50 mi) northwest of Cuzco and through which the Urubamba River flows. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often mistakenly referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas" (a title more accurately applied to Vilcabamba), it is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization.
The Incas built the estate around 1450, but abandoned it a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Although known locally, it was not known to the Spanish during the colonial period and remained unknown to the outside world before being brought to international attention in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham. Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed in order to give tourists a better idea of what the structures originally looked like. By 1976, 30% of Machu Picchu had been restored; restoration continues today.
Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. In 2007, Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in a worldwide Internet poll. Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. Its three primary structures are the Inti Watana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows.


Machu Picchu lies in the southern hemisphere, 13.164 degrees south of the equator. It is 80 kilometres (50 miles) northwest of Cusco, on the crest of the mountain Machu Picchu, located about 2,430 metres (7,970 feet) above mean sea level, over 1,000 metres (3,300 ft) lower than Cusco, which has an elevation of 3,600 metres (11,800 ft). As such, it had a milder climate than the Inca capital. It is one of the most important archaeological sites in South America, one of the most visited tourist attractions in all of Latin America and the most visited tourist attraction in Peru.
The year at Machu Picchu is divided between wet and dry seasons, with the majority of annual rain falling from October through to April. It can rain at any time of the year.
Machu Picchu is situated above a bow of the Urubamba River, which surrounds the site on three sides, with cliffs dropping vertically for 450 metres (1,480 ft) to the river at their base. The area is subject to morning mists rising from the river. The location of the city was a military secret, and its deep precipices and steep mountains provided excellent natural defenses. The Inca Bridge, an Inca grass rope bridge, across the Urubamba River in the Pongo de Mainique, provided a secret entrance for the Inca army. 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). It could be bridged by two tree trunks, but with the trees removed, there was a 570 metres (1,870 ft) fall to the base of the cliffs.
The city sits in a saddle between the two mountains Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, with a commanding view down two valleys and a nearly impassable mountain at its back. It has a water supply from springs that cannot be blocked easily, and enough land to grow food for about four times as many people as ever lived there. The hillsides leading to it have been terraced, not only to provide more farmland to grow crops, but to steepen the slopes which invaders would have to ascend. The terraces reduced the Erotion and protected against landslides. Two high-altitude routes from Machu Picchu go across the mountains back to Cusco, one through the sun gate, and the other across the Inca bridge. Both could be blocked easily, should invaders approach along them. Regardless of its original purpose, it is strategically located and readily defended.


Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, both cultural and natural. Since its discovery in 1911, growing numbers of tourists visit the site yearly, reaching 400,000 in 2000. As Peru's most visited tourist attraction and major revenue generator, it is continually threatened by economic and commercial forces. In the late 1990s, the Peruvian government granted concessions to allow the construction of a cable car and a luxury hotel, including a tourist complex with boutiques and restaurants. Many people protested against the plans, including Peruvians and foreign scientists, saying that the greater numbers of visitors would pose a tremendous physical burden on the ruins. Many protested a plan to build a bridge to the site as well. A no-fly zone exists above the area. UNESCO is considering putting Machu Picchu on its List of World Heritage in Danger.
During the 1980s a large rock from Machu Picchu's central plaza was moved out of its alignment to a different location to create a helicopter landing zone. Since the 1990s, the government has forbidden helicopter landings there. In 2006, a Cusco-based company, Helicusco, sought to have tourist flights over Machu Picchu and initially received a license to do so, but the government quickly overturned the decision.
In recent years, Machu Picchu has experienced a multitude of issues of tourist safety. There have been several accounts of tourist deaths linked to altitude sickness, floods and hiking accidents. It has also been noted that UNESCO has received harsh criticism for allowing tourists to go to the location even though there are high risks of landslides, earthquakes and injury due to decaying structures.
Naked tourism is recent trend to the dismay of Peruvian officials. In several incidents, tourists were detained for posing for nude pictures or streaking across the grassy fields of Machu Picchu. Peru's Ministry of Culture has denounced these acts for threatening Peru's cultural heritage. Cusco's Regional Director of Culture has increased surveillance to crack down on naked tourism.


HISTORICAL SANCTUARY OF MACHU PICCHU, is located in the district of the same name, province of Urubamba, Cusco region, Republic of Peru. 38 has an area of 448,106 hectares.
It is nestled in the chain of the eastern Andes of the Atlantic basin; the Urubamba River crosses from east to west, forming a deep canyon with altitudes ranging from 1,750 meters to 6,271 m.s.n.m., a fact that allowed the development of special ecosystems and biodiversity ten large living areas.
In this area have identified 423 species of birds like the "Cock of the Rocks" peruviana Rupicola, the "Condor" Andean Condor, the "duck the Torrenteras" Merganetta armata, the endemic bird "Cucarachero Inca", Thryothorus eisenmanni, 342 species of butterflies and 41 species of mammals, including the "spectacled bear" Tremarctos ornatus.
In these various areas they have also recorded 309 species of orchids, 506 species of monocots and dicots 979. This geographical area, the famous Sacred Valley, was instrumental in the development of the Inka state established in spine where the most extraordinary works of architectural character were located: The City Inca of Machu Picchu, Patallaqta, Phuyupatamarka, Sayaqmarka, Wiñaywayna, Intipata, Runkurakay , Torontoy, Choqesuysuy, Chachabamba, Llamaanden, Salapunku, Qanabamba, Waynaq'ente, Machuq'ente Qonchamarka, Rayankancha, Intiwatana, Qoriwayrachina, P'oqes, Patawasi, Inkarakay, Rumiwasi, Chaskapata, Killapata, Wayraqtambo, Intipunku, among others; articulated by an extraordinary road network of over 250 km. length that unites different ceremonial centers (huacas) located both in the valley and high peaks, as well as agricultural infrastructure and various works of the Inca era. Currently articulate population centers, creating an extraordinary Cultural Landscape and Built Landscape Social.
As a corollary of this vast heritage stands out above all, the Inca city of Machu Picchu, Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary Center. The Inca City of Machu Picchu, one of the most extraordinary architectural expressions of civilization; is, according to the Andean world, the harmonious combination of human work with nature as well as being main strategic link between the High Andean area and the Amazon.