Sights in Machu Picchu

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Set about 2300 meters above sea level, there are many Machu Picchu sights that display the city’s fascinating history. Machu Picchu, which is also known as the Inca City, is a popular tourist destination in Peru. Here are some important sights tourists must visit when they are in the city.

Machu Picchu Ruins

This well preserved site, which measures 32,000 acres and consists of temples, houses, plazas, agricultural terraces, fountains and staircases, is evidence that Machu Picchu is an ancient city. The Machu Picchu Ruins were re-discovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham. Today, it has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Center, and it is the most visited site in the country. These 500 year old ruins attract about 2500 visitors everyday and are considered one of the major contributors to Peru’s economy.

Huayna Picchu

For the more adventurous tourists, a trek up Huayna Picchu is a great idea. Huayna Picchu means “Young Mountain” in Quechua, and Machu Picchu means “Old Mountain.” Usually two groups of 200 visitors are allowed the climb in a day, so tourists should make their way to Huayna Picchu early. There are cables attached to some of the rocks to enable an easier climb. Although the view from the climb is spectacular, tourists should be fit enough to make the climb. Tourists can choose from coming down by the same route or an alternate one that leads to the Moon Temple.

Temple of the Sun

This is one of the most famous sights in Machu Picchu. Temple of the Sun is one of the most important of many ceremonial sites and temples in the city. It consists of a large granite ceremonial stone and a rounded tower that protects it. The Temple of the Sun celebrates and honors Inti (the Sun), which is an important Inca deity. Inside the temple is an unusual trapezoidal window and an altar. Although visitors cannot visit the temple from the inside, they can still get a wonderful view of it from the top.

Intihuatana

Behind the Sacristy is a staircase that leads to a small hill, on which lies one of the major shrines in Machu Picchu. The Intihuatana is a carved rock pillar which is located on top of the Intihuatana hill and means “Hitching Post of the Sun” in Quechua. Apparently, astronomers from Inca used the angles of this pillar to predict solstices. This is said to have given them control over the coming of long summer days. Record shows that there were several Intihuatanas at different important Inca sites, but most of these were smashed by the Spanish in their attempt to eradicate the pagan sacrilege of sun worship. This Intihuatana Stone is one of the only surviving stones, as the Spanish were unable to find Machu Picchu.

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Alternative Tourism in Peru

Inka Magik offers alternative 4 day eco Inca Trail routes to Machu Picchu Cusco through the warm jungle on foot and on horseback, staying a night in tent, hotel and in a rustic adobe lodge with a local family who live in the jungle. The family welcome the traveller in and cook a traditional meal. There is freshly picked fruit from the trees in the garden, such as papaya or pineapple, and coffee beans are toasted for a fresh breakfast wake up. 

There are also 10 day adventure tours as well as tailor made tours for small groups on offer, the latter is organized through local artisan groups and a locally owned community tourist agency. This means that the local community benefits from the tourism and the travellers gain a real insight into Peruvian life as well as having the opportunity to visit a hidden side to the country.

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