Machu Picchu, one of the world's most fabled sights. The area is built of large stone blocks that are formed and assembled with incredible skill, and that resists the ravages of time and even earthquakes. It is located 80 km northwest of Cusco, from where you can go to Machu Picchu by train or bus/train. A part of the connection with Cusco is a narrow gauge railway. Last stop with road connection is Ollantaytambo, the only village that the Spaniards never managed to conquer, about 2.5 hours by train from Machu Picchu. From Cusco to Ollantaytambo you can go by car or bus.
Machu Picchu is designated as one of the "Seven New Wonders Of The World" and was included on the UNESCO World Heritage list in 1983. About 2450 meters above sea level this impressive historical site rises towards the sky, consisting of a 500 meter high mountain ridge with steep slopes, above the Urubamba river and the village of Aguas Calientes, which is the starting point for visits of Machu Picchu.
The city is believed to have been built by the Inca Emperor Pachacuti in about 1440 and was inhabited until the Spanish conquest of Peru in 1532. The site was then abandoned for some reason they have not been able to ascertain, and the Spaniards never found the place because of "the city's" unique and geological conditions, so the site lay untouched until it was discovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, a historian from Yale University in the United States.
For what purpose the Inca people used Machu Picchu is still shrouded in mystery; one speculates about everything from a prison to a Holy Temple, a "country house" for the Inca-court or a Centre for agricultural experiments.
Few places in the world can compare to the Machu Picchu in beauty, when you in the morning at sunrise can see mists disperse themselves and the mysterious city is bathed in sunshine. To wander among the ruins and imagine life there during the Inca era gives overwhelming impressions and memories for life.
A popular way to get to Machu Picchu is to hike the famous Inca Trail, 4 days/3 nights, where you on the last morning arrives at "The Sun Gate" above the ruins in the early morning, and then during the day get a guided tour and several hours to explore the site on your own.
Some visitors choose to climb The Huayna Picchu mountain from there you have a wonderful view of Machu Picchu and the surrounding area. It is a tough and slightly dangerous climbing though, especially after 4 days of trekking, so you have to be extremely careful.