All About Machu Picchu Citadel
Machu Picchu, located on a mountain ridge overlooking Peru's Urubamba River valley and constructed during the 15th century by Inca people of Peru may have served as royal estate or country retreat built under Emperor Pachacuti of Inca people - it remains extremely popular today and attracts over 3 Million annual visitors; making this site one of the world's major tourist spots.
Machu Picchu Citadel Overview
Distance from Cusco:
|By car 1 hour an 15 minutes, Then by train almost 2 hours: Total 3 hours approx|
Best time to visit:
|Dry season April to October|
|Inca Trail, Salkantay trek, Lares Trek|
What to see?:
|Sun Gate, Inca bridge, Huayna Picchu, Huchuy Picchu Intihuatana, Temple of the sun, Temple of the condor, etc|
The History of Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu was established during the 15th century and left unoccupied in 1572, featuring stone structures including buildings, terraces and walls built without using mortar.
Hiram Bingham III, an American explorer, made Machu Picchu famous worldwide when he discovered it again in 1911 and made its discovery known. Today the site remains very popular among tourists visiting Peru.
Machu Picchu is an exciting place steeped in history, so to fully experience it be sure to do your research beforehand and read up on its rich past.
How to Get to Machu Picchu?
To easily reach Machu Picchu, tours can depart from either Cusco or Ollantaytambo. Cusco is the closest major city and there are numerous tour companies offering day trips or longer packages with transportation, guides, entrance to the site, etc.
If you're feeling adventurous, hiking to Machu Picchu from Cusco can be accomplished on the Inca Trail, which typically takes four days and allows only 500 visitors daily. Permission must be secured prior to embarking on this trek - you must obtain one beforehand in order to participate!
When to Visit Machu Picchu
For an optimal visit, the optimal time would be April through October during its dry season (April-October), when temperatures range between 18-25 degrees Celsius (64-77 Fahrenheit). Due to being in the Southern Hemisphere, its seasons differ significantly from those found in Northern hemisphere cities - thus aligning our winter months with its dry season months.
Machu Picchu can become particularly crowded during July and August due to Peruvian schoolchildren taking their summer breaks from studies. To avoid crowds, visit between April, May, September or October for best results.
When is the best time of the year to visit Machu Picchu?
Many travelers often wonder whether to book a visit. Check out this blog, "Best Time to Visit Machu Picchu", for all of the important details regarding visiting Machu Picchu such as weather conditions, expenses, and the ideal time.
What to See at Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu offers many amazing sights to be seen, such as the Inca Trail, temples and ruins. Here is a guide of some of the must-sees at this remarkable place.
The Inca Trail
Hiking the Classic Inca Trail is one of the most popular ways to reach Machu Picchu, usually taking four days and three nights of camping along its route in Peru. Enjoy breathtaking landscapes as you experience this remarkable trek that ends at Machu Picchu through Sungate - an exciting entrance into Machu Picchu from this classic one of Inca Trail's.
Terraces of Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is famed for its terraces. These incredible structures were constructed to make farming on steep hillsides easier while preventing soil loss through runoff. Built without using mortar or cement, the terraces stand as testament to human ingenuity.
Water in Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu's water supply system is an outstanding example of ancient engineering. Constructed in an area with scarce natural water sources, the builders had to devise creative means of providing sufficient amounts for city needs.
They constructed canals and aqueducts to bring water from mountain streams into the city, which proved successful at providing enough for all its citizens, even during drought-stricken months.
But, there were problems with this system. Floods or landslides could easily damage canals and aqueducts, while it lacked enough pressure to reach higher levels in the city as its reliance on gravity to move water limited its reach.
Machu Picchu's water supply system worked effectively for decades despite some challenges. When people left, however, its functionality started deteriorating significantly and archaeologists are currently working towards restoring it back to its previous state.
Sungate in Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu's Sungate (Inti Punku) is an entranceway into Machu Picchu that's often visited by tourists looking for great photo ops. Situated atop a long flight of stairs, Sungate provides stunning panoramic views of both its surroundings as well as distant Andean mountain peaks from where visitors can capture stunning photographs at this iconic site.
As you approach Machu Picchu from Aguas Calientes, you will come upon several staircases leading up to Sungate that may appear difficult. When you reach the top however, some of Peru's most stunning vistas await!
On a day with good visibility, Sungate offers breathtaking views. Below you lies Machu Picchu surrounded by mountains. Exploring it is truly rewarding experience and visiting is among the top things to do while visiting Machu Picchu.
Inca bridge in Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu offers visitors the Inca Bridge as a unique chance to explore less popular areas. Not far from the main site and offering breathtaking views of its surroundings, this remarkable structure provides the ideal place for discovery of lesser-known corners. Don't miss it; check it out - an incredible feat of Inca engineering definitely worth seeing!
Huayna Picchu in Machu Picchu
Huayna Picchu's hike is not particularly difficult, though it can become congested as only 300 people are permitted per day to hike it. Arriving early to secure a spot and enjoy breathtaking views from its highest point will certainly reward any effort!
Machu Picchu Mountain
Hiking Machu Picchu Mountain is one of the best ways to experience Machu Picchu. You'll find it right behind the old city, offering breathtaking views over its surroundings. Though moderately difficult, much of this hike goes uphill requiring strength and fitness from those embarking upon it.
Huchuy Picchu Mountain
Huchuy Picchu is an incredible site in Machu Picchu that provides visitors with breathtaking views. To experience its full magnificence, consider hiking up Huchuy Picchu - the highest point on the mountain where Machu Picchu sits - which offers amazing panoramas from its summit. Although the hike may be strenuous and requires planning ahead for optimal success, do include Huchuy Picchu in your plans when visiting Machu Picchu!
Guard House in Machu Picchu
Soldiers likely used this building for storage of weapons and supplies as well as living quarters while guarding the site. Today it stands as an intriguing tourist destination; people can go inside this historic structure and experience how soldiers once lived there.
Temple of the sun in Machu Picchu
Situated at the heart of its city and of great significance to local residents, this monument was constructed as an offering to Inti, their sun god. People also used this holy site as a pilgrimage spot. Crafted out of granite with a grand staircase leading up to it - plus there's even space inside that wall where statues or other items might have been displayed! Don't miss visiting this important attraction when in Machu Picchu! It should definitely make time in your travels around!
Palace of the Inca in Machu Picchu
Each year, thousands visit Machu Picchu to take in its ancient ruins and learn about Inca civilization - many visit The Palace of the Inca which Pachacuti called home with his family and which serves as an important tourist attraction in Machu Picchu.
Temple of the Condor
The Temple of the Condor at Machu Picchu is an infamous structure. Constructed to pay respect to Viracocha and symbolize Inca civilization might, this building stands in Machu Picchu's main square near other important structures such as Temples of Sun and Three Windows.
Intihuatana in Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu features an iconic stone structure known as Intihuatana. This stone is widely known and appreciated throughout Machu Picchu; ancient Inca used this pillar as a sundial and used its language - Quechua - as the language for writing instructions, hence "Intihuatana" means "hitching post of the sun".
The Intihuatana Stone was created from one single piece of granite and stands five feet tall and weighs two tons. It has an elongated form resembling that of a pyramid-topped structure; rectangular markings could have served to mark astronomical events on it.
Experts remain uncertain what exactly the Intihuatana stone was used for; however, most agree it served as an astronomical instrument. Perhaps the stone could have helped determine winter solstice, the moment in time when sun's path in sky is at its lowest point and is most directed south.
Machu Picchu boasts many fascinating aspects, and one such attraction is the Intihuatana stone. Historians, archaeologists, and visitors from all around the globe remain mystified and intrigued by this old site.