South America


What is Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is an ancient Incan city constructed at an elevation of 8,000 feet (2,438 meters) above sea level, and located about 43 miles (69 kilometers) northwest of Cuzco in Peru. It was built by the Incan ruler Pachacuti Inca Yupanqui between 1460 and 1470. It is comprised of more than 200 buildings, which are visited by thousands of tourists each year. Tourists reach the city either by bus or by a ritualistic 20-mile hike to the summit. It was rediscovered by a Yale University team, headed by Hiram Bingham, in 1911. Some argue that other explorers may have discovered the site earlier, including a German businessman named Augusto Bern in the 1880s.

A view of Machu Picchu in the Andes Mountains (photo by Paul A. Tucci).

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