Machu Picchu is an ancient city of the Incas, which is located high (2,430m) in the mountains of Peru. It’s often called “The Lost City of the Incas” and is without doubt one of the most fascinating and historically rich places in the world.
As the locals say, no visit to Peru is complete if tourists don’t get to see Machu Picchu. The town was built in the middle of the 15th century – around 1450, which was actually the height of the Inca Empire. Sadly, just 100 years later, the Incas abandoned it, mainly because of the Spanish Conquest.
The Western Civilization first found out about Machu Picchu after Hiram Bingham III finished his Peruvian expedition. With the help of the indigenous people, he announced the existence of the “Lost City” in 1911, although soon after claims for prior discoveries were made by a number of other explorers.
What every tourists should know is that nowadays there are some entrance restrictions. They are aimed at reducing the effect of tourism on the archeological site. For instance, the daily number of allowed visitors has been limited to only 2500 a day. Only 400 people a day are granted rights to enter the Huayana Picchu (inside the citadel) and they can do so only between 7 and 10 AM.
There are many things to see on the site of Machu Pichu. Many tourists are intrigued by what is perhaps the biggest attraction there – an astronomic stone with extreme accuracy. It’s called the Intihuatana stone, which comes from the native Inca language – “inti” stands for sun and “wata(huata)” means “to tie”. The name literally means “to tie the sun”. Surprisingly, the astronomic stone is quite accurate. On January 30 and November 11, the sun happens to stand right above the stone and casts no shadow. June 21 is the day when the sun is casting the longest shadow, while on December 21 it’s the opposite – the shortest shadow.