Machu Picchu Pictures
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Machu Picchu's jailhouse rocks.
Machu Picchu is a place to hang out, write diaries, climb every viewpoint, wander in wonder, contemplate the universe, catch some sun, torment llamas, what you will - but it needs more than a few hours, and needs them early in the morning before the train arrives and the video-toting Italians hit the ticket gate.
A guard llama patrolling past the Temple of Three Windows.
The three most important structures on the site are the Intihuatana stone (photo at bottom), the Room (Temple) of Three Windows and the Sun Temple (next page).
Otherwise the buildings tend to be very well constructed but less interesting. After the quality of stonework - that we saw before in Cusco - what really grabs the visitor's attention here is the amazing location and ambience. The perfectly tranquil setting (tourist herds apart!) on a tabletop mountain, circled by the Urubamba River and a chain of mountain peaks is the epitome of picturesque. On a sunny day sights don't get any better than this. Anywhere.
Another guard fitted with the latest model, hyper-sonic eardar spots an intruder and goes to defcon 3.
The classic Machu Picchu shot with Winay (Huayna) Picchu towering behind the complex, demanding a final, must-climb effort.
Original thatched roofs - apart from a replica or two - are long gone but the metre thick stone walls of all kinds of buildings from palaces to pissoirs still stand, demanding a lot more time than the usual day-return tourist trip.
Two days here is just right (assuming the weather is OK), enabling a quiet late afternoon after the mooing herds leave on the train and a reasonable early morning before they flood back, so stay over. Accommodation.
Looking through one of the Three Windows temple. Photo by Colegota.
Intiwatana (Intihuatana) sun calendar stone. Photo by Colegota.
Next, More Machu Picchu Pictures and information
Machu Picchu, the 'lost city of the Incas', was found in 1911, or more precisely was reported to the world at large then.
It was probably a summer holiday resort for upper-class Incas, built around 1430 and used by less than 800 Inca glitterati at a time for less than 100 years.
The Spanish conquest terminated the Inca Empire and the raison d'etre for Machu Pichu but amazingly the Spanish never found the city, probably because the route there from Cusco was unimpressively narrow and circuitous, as the Inca Trail still is.
The ruins are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site. More.