Day 40, Peru: Machu Picchu
Trip Start May 31, 2010
32Trip End Aug 26, 2010
Map your own trip!
Show trip route
The most famous opening lines of Fred Astaire' song keep coming to my mind: "Heaven, I am in Heaven and my heart beats so that I can hardly speak..."
The ruins of Machu Picchu, rediscovered in 1911 by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham, are one of the most beautiful and enigmatic ancient sites in the world.
Whatever its origins, the Inca turned the site into a small (5 square miles) but extraordinary city. Invisible from below and completely self-contained, surrounded by agricultural terraces sufficient to feed the population, and watered by natural springs, Machu Picchu seems to have been utilized by the Inca as a secret ceremonial city.
The Spaniards never found Machu Picchu, even though they suspected its existence. The mountain top sanctuary fell into disuse and was abandoned some forty years after the Spanish took Cuzco in 1533. Supply lines linking the many Inca social centers were disrupted and the great empire came to an end :-(