Historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu  is a UNESCO World Heritage site covering the Machu Picchu ruins in Cusco Province in Peru and its surroundings. Because the preservation state of Machu Picchu ruins is the best among other Inca Empire ruins, in addition with the excellent landscape of its surrounding natural environment that contains important fauna and flora, some of which are classified as endangered or vulnerable species, it was registered as a mixed World Heritage in 1983. The whole area is about 326 km², with the ruins covering an area of around 5 Km².

Machu Picchu is a ruin of the fifteenth-century Inca Empire located on a mountain ridge (altitude 2,430 m) along the Urubamba Valley, a region in Peru’s Andean highlands.

This ruin is called “Machu Picchu” in many languages, and is a transcription of the area name in Quechua language called “Machu Picchu”, which means “Old Peak”. Since the existence of ruins cannot be confirmed from foot of the mountain, it is often referred to as the “aerial city” or the “lost city of Inca”.

Machu Picchu was discovered in 1911 by an American historian, Hiram Bingham, and it is said that this Inca city was woken up from a 400-year long sleep.

The total area of Machu Picchu is about 5 Km². About half of the area consists terraced fields along the mountain slopes, and the west side is an urban area that includes a residential area where about 750 people lived. The stone buildings were built in precision so that even a razor blade cannot pass through the gap between the stones, and even after several hundred years they remain firmly in shape.

At the top of Machu Picchu, which is situated on a steep slope, there is a sun temple, and at the top is Intihuatana (a stone to tie up the sun). It is said that there were windows that can accurately predict the summer and winter solstices, and the observation and creation of a calendar by using the sun.

The Inca Empire was destroyed by the Spanish conquest in 1533, and because the Andean civilization had no writing methods, the reason behind the construction of Machu Picchu and its relationship and shard roles with the capital Cusco, etc., are still not clearly understood.

 

http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/274/