Pictures of Machu Picchu, Peru   Peru MACHU PICCHU
Pictures of the Inca 'lost city' of Machu Picchu in Peru
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The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu in Peru is one of the world's most spectacular ruins.  Temples, houses, staircases and agricultural terraces were built high among rugged and forested mountains with distant snow-covered Andean peaks providing a dramatic backdrop.  We may never know what drove the Incas to build in this almost inaccessible location, or the true purpose of their remarkable achievement.
Picture of Machu Picchu, Peru
Picture of Machu Picchu, Peru
The classic view of Machu Picchu with mist swirling up from the Urubamba river valley far below.  Left of the central plaza is the upper urban area with many of the most important buildings and the Intihuatana stone.
Machu Picchu photo
Machu Picchu photo
What was the place of Machu Picchu in the world view of the Incas?  Machu Picchu, with its enduring air of mystery and its stunning mountain surroundings, evokes a sense of wonder. 
Inca picture, Peru Inca picture, Peru
Many descendants of the Incas live in the Peru highlands.  They keep alive traditions passed down by their ancestors who built Machu Picchu.
The doomed Inca Empire
In the fifteenth century, the Inca state began to expand under the rule of the emperor Pachacutec.  Other cultures were conquered and assimilated to create the most powerful empire in the New World.  At its peak the Inca empire stretched for 5500 kilometers from what is now southern Colombia down through Peru to central Chile.  But the Inca empire was doomed to be short-lived.  Its violent destruction came at the hands and weapons of European conquerors.
Machu Picchu photo
Enduring mysteries in a sacred landscape

Machu Picchu is a mysterious place built by the Incas in a staggering landscape for reasons forgotten with the passing of their empire.  It is believed to have been constructed by the great ruler Pachacutec around the middle of the fifteenth century.  The Spanish conquistadors never found the site, probably because it was abandoned before the conquest.

Because the Incas left no written records, historians can only speculate on the purpose of Machu Picchu.  Some believe that the dramatic location may have held geographical or astronomical significance to the Incas.

Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu
Perhaps an example of landscape art?  Machu Picchu melds into a high saddle in front of Huayna Picchu peak.  The Inca revered mountains and incorporated the natural beauty of the Andean landscape into Machu Picchu.
Inca stonework at Machu Picchu
The intriguing buildings and structures at Machu Picchu are testimonies to the skills of the Inca builders.   No other civilization in the ancient world was able to cut and assemble stone blocks so perfectly.  The purposes of many of the Inca constructions at Machu Picchu remain a mystery.
Inca stonework, Peru
The Intihuatana is a huge carved stone that occupies a high point in Machu Picchu.  It may have been an astronomical calendar or used for mountain worship.
Inca stonework, Peru
The Temple of the Three Windows includes large, beautifully-cut polygonal stones.
Inca stonework, Peru
Intricate stonework below the Temple of the Sun.
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NEPAL Old Kathmandu          NEPAL Everest: Abode of Snow          PERU Machu Picchu
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EAST AFRICA Wildlife Safari 1          EAST AFRICA Wildlife Safari 2
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