Machu Picchu, often referred to as the Lost City of the Incas, is one of the architectural and engineering marvels of the ancient world, in a mountain setting of staggering immensity. It was built in 1450 above the valley of Urubamba near Cusco, at a height of 2430m and deserted less than a century later following the Spanish invasion. The city was 'lost' for hundreds of years to the jungle before being discovered by the American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911 (though local farmers knew it was there the whole time!).
The architecture of Machu Picchu is quite extraordinary, with the mortar-free design particularly earthquake resistant and the stones so precisely cut that to this day not even a knife fits between them. There seems to be a strong astrological influence particularly with the Temple of the Sun which contains two windows that are aligned to the points where the sun rises in the mornings of the summer and winter solstices, the longest and shortest days, respectively.
Most of our adventure holidays to Peru include the famous 4-day Inca Trail trek which culminates in a dawn arrival at the Gateway of the Sun for a panoramic view of Machu Picchu, or an alternative trek such as the Salcantay or Wild Andes Treks. All our tours to Peru include a guided tour of the ruins (whether you have arrived on foot along the Inca Trail or one of its alternatives, or train and bus from Cusco) as well as free time to explore by yourself.