The nearest airport is Cusco, around 75 km away. From here you can take the train to Aguas Calientes. Driving time from Cusco (Poroy) to Aguas Calientes is about 3.5 hours. The train "Expedition" costs around $ 70, while the "Hiram Bingham" luxury train costs over $ 500 per person each way. Current information on the train journey to Machu Picchu see link below Perurail. The small town is situated at the foot of the mountain on which Machu Picchu sits. In Aguas Calientes there are numerous pensions and hotels. From Aguas Calientes you can take the bus that drives up the steep serpentine road called "Carretera Hiram Bingham" to the entrance of Machu Picchu.
Machu Picchu is an Inca city built on a ridge about 2,400 meters high. The ruined city is situated between two peaks, the "Machu Picchu" and the "Huayna Picchu". The Inca city was named after the Machu Picchu in English "Old Summit", the city name of the Inca period is not known. The Inca city Machu Picchu was built around 1450, about 1,000 people lived in the settlement. Pizarro conquered the capital of Cusco in 1536, then the Inca empire decayed. Machu Picchu was abandoned and fell into oblivion. The name "Machu Picchu", however, was recorded in maps and every now and then explorers came to the abandoned Inca city.
Machu Picchu became famous when the American Hiram Bingham reached the overgrown city with his expedition in 1911. Bingham had sponsors that enabled him to clear the city from vegetation and write an archaeological study about the city. Bingham brought all the finds to the USA, in 2008 these finds were returned to Peru and are now in the Museum "Machupicchu Casa Concha" in Cusco. In 1983, Machu Picchu was declared UNESCO World Heritage Site. Today, the former Inca city is the main attraction of Peru.
The "Guardian Huts" guard the southern access to Machu Picchu. The cabins are open to this side. The Guardian Huts were rebuilt and are covered by their original thatched roof.
Terraces have been built on the mountain slopes below the city to provide food for Machu Picchu. The Sunstone "Intihuatana" (photo) showed the two solstices, indicating the right time for sowing. The day of the winter solstice (June) was the most important day, then the stone cast the longest shade. "Intihuatana" means "place where the sun is tied". The shadow binds the sun and it can not move further north. The days are getting longer and you can produce more food again.
The "Holy Square" was the religious center of Machu Picchu, here stood the house of the High Priest. The square was flanked by the main temple and the temple of the three windows. On the Holy Square is a huge altar stone.
The Sun Temple was one of the highest sanctuaries of Machu Picchu. The round structure with a rock in the interior, has two windows. Through one window the sun shines in the morning at the summer and winter solstice, through the other window serpents were let into the temple. The serpent is the sign of the underworld. Below the sun temple is the king's grave. It has 3 steps for the Inca levels of existence. The underworld is symbolized by the serpent, the presence of the cougar, and the sky by the condor.
Welcome to Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu is an ancient Inca city located between two mountain peaks at an altitude of around 2,400 meters. The cloud-laden city charms its visitors with its incredible location in the middle of the mountains. One would assume that one drives from Cusco upwards to reach the old Inca city. In fact, Cusco is about 1,000 meters higher than Machu Picchu.