Upon making a decision to pay a foreign country a visit, some of the biggest tourist destinations go on to be included into the must-see list. And that’s great, because if they’re so popular among the visitors, there must be something pretty spectacular about them. For those who decide to visit Peru, Machu Picchu will be one of those destinations. In fact, many travel to Peru with the primary purpose of seeing the miracle of the Incan civilization. And trust me, it does not disappoint.
Machu Picchu is a citadel built by the Inca in the 15th century. Interestingly, people tend to view it as something that is ancient, but in reality, it came to be even later than the Oxford university, so it’s not as old as many believe. It is located in the mountains, the Eastern part of the Cordillera to be precise. It is not exactly a lost Incan city either, although many refer to it that way; in fact, the scientists and the archeologists who work with Machu Picchu believe that it was constructed as an estate for Pachacuti, the emperor of the Inca at the time. Sadly, this wonderful dwelling place had to be abandoned about a century after having been built, all due to the Spanish invasion.
The estate relied heavily on farming, growing most of its crops on man-made terrace farms the civilization is truly famous for as incredible engineering skill was necessary to construct them. Interestingly enough, archeological discoveries of the site show that most people who lived in Machu Picchu, of whom there were approximately 750, were actually immigrants from very varying places.
As of today, it is fair to say that Machu Picchu is one of the biggest tourist attractions in the world. The people flock to try and feel the spirit of the fascinating Inca civilization and to understand how the estate looked like – it was constructed in accordance with the traditional Inca style, meaning polished dry-stone walls, and many of its outer parts had to be recreated with the hopes of offering people are clearer idea of what the original looked like.
Needless to say, this fascinating piece of architecture is a part of UNESCO, having been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. The fact that it was also among the New Seven Wonders of the World (a global attempt to shed more light onto fascinating locations in the world) speaks to its popularity and significance as well.
It is also one of very important economic driving forces for Peru. With such huge number of visitors, Machu Picchu provided the possibility of growing tourism revenue, constructing new hotels, offering guiding services as well as other things which bring the country substantial benefit. A good balance is being maintained though between tourism and preservation. Since UNESCO is actively thinking about including Machu Picchu into the list of World Heritage in Danger, a no-fly zone exists over the site and the foot traffic is being limited.
As a whole, whether you happen to be in Peru, or whether you hope to travel there just to see Machu Picchu – it’s truly worth the time.