Machu Picchu was constructed in the traditional Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. The Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows are its three main buildings. They are made of finely cut stone that was probably obtained from local sources. The workmanship is excellent and the building remains bright white even after hundreds of years.
The Machu Picchu site is located in the Andes Mountains, near Cuzco, Peru. It is an ancient city built by the Incas around 1450-1430 AD. The name means "old peak" in Quechua. It was used as a religious sanctuary and also served as a political stronghold under the rule of the Incas. The best known feature of Machu Picchu is its impressive view which takes in several other important sites in the area. These include Puca Pucara (or Skull Hill), where many human bones were found; Huayna Picca (or White Pyramid), one of the highest peaks in the region at 3,780 meters above sea level; and Vilcabamba, once a major center for learning in the Americas.
Machu Picchu is a popular tourist destination today because it is on the Inca Trail, a road leading up to the city from Ollantaytambo.
Machu Picchu is said to have been erected in the mid-1400s by Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui, the Inca's ninth monarch. Pachacuti, an empire builder, began a series of conquests that would eventually see the Inca expand into a South American dominion stretching from Ecuador to Chile. He is also reported to have constructed dozens of other important sites across the Inca Empire including Intihuasi, Urubamba and Vilcabamba.
In 1553, after years of civil wars, the last Inca emperor was forced to acknowledge Spanish rule. The new king, Carlos V, married into the Pizarro family, leaders of the first European invasion into what is now Peru. The Pizarros helped the king gain control of much of the continent and they became very rich doing so. They financed many buildings in Spain with their gold earnings. One of these was the monastery at Cuzco where the Inca emperor was kept as a prisoner until his death. The emperor's body was then moved to Lima where it remained for three years before being sent back to Cuzco for burial in his own palace. This event is called "The Burning of Cusco" because many buildings in the city were burned during this time.
After the Incas were gone, many battles were fought over who would control what now belonged to Spain. At one point, Portugal even claimed part of Peru but later gave up its claims.
Machu Picchu, located in the Sacred Valley, is an example of the Incas adapting building tactics to the area's geography. While other Pre-Columbian societies built man-made mountains, the Incas focused on the natural geography surrounding them. These include mountain ranges, plateaus, and valleys that provided resources for agriculture and shelter from extreme weather conditions.
In addition to its impressive architecture, what makes Machu Picchu so special is its location: it is surrounded by agricultural lands where corn, potatoes, tomatoes are grown today. The city is also close to three rivers which provided water for irrigation.
The location of Machu Picchu has changed over time due to environmental factors such as earthquakes and volcanic eruptions. However, the city has withstood these changes and has been preserved for centuries by its isolation from modern life. Today, thousands of tourists visit Machu Picchu every year. It is one of Peru's most popular attractions.
Machu Picchu is an ancient city dating back some 500 years before Christopher Columbus arrived in America. It was originally a royal estate built by the Incas for their high priests. The city was abandoned when the last Inca emperor died without an heir in 1650, but wasn't discovered by outsiders until 1911. Today, it is part of the Peruvian National Park system and can be visited via guided tour only.