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Machu Picchu | by Michael McDonough
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Machu Picchu

*Machu Picchu (Quechua: Machu Pikchu, "Old Peak") is a pre-Columbian Inca site located at 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level[1] on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, about 70 km (44 mi) northwest of Cusco. Often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas", Machu Picchu is probably the most familiar symbol of the Inca Empire. It was built around the year 1450 and abandoned a hundred years later, at the time of the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire. Forgotten for centuries by all except for a few locals, the site was brought to worldwide attention in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, an American historian. Since then, Machu Picchu has become an important tourist attraction, it was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. It is also one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.


Machu Picchu was built in a classic Inca architectural style of polished dry-stone walls. Its primary buildings are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun and the Room of the Three Windows located in what is known by archaeologist as the Sacred District of Machu Picchu. There are concerns about the impact of tourism to the site as its visitors reached 400,000 in 2003. On September 2007, Peru and Yale University reached an agreement regarding return of artifacts removed from Macchu Picchu in the early 20th century by Hiram Bingham.



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Taken on April 18, 2006