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MACHU PICCHU, The Lost City of the Incas

Up in the mountains of the majestic Andes, where they meet the expansive and exuberant Peruvian jungle, capriciously perched atop a peak, shrouded in mystery and often in clouds, there is a place where the senses are overtaken by the imposing beauty of the landscape and the cyclopean construction that defiantly stands as a testament to the greatness of one of the most advanced civilizations of the New World, the Inca Empire.

The Machu Picchu citadel, which is believed to have served as a royal estate, with its temples, houses, aqueducts, and plaza, which seem as though they had been sculpted out of the continuous rock escarpments, bears witness to the sacred nature of the stone in the Inca cosmovision and architecture and seems to pay an enduring homage to the mountains and the earth wherefrom its stones were taken.

During the invasion and rapacious conquest of the Inca Empire by the Spaniards, Machu Picchu remained hidden because, amongst other things, of its capricious location. Though it remained known to some natives, who cultivated its terraces, the Inca citadel was not showcased to the World until it was rediscovered in 1911 by the American explorer and scholar, Hiram Bingham—whose rediscovery opened the citadel, which was once reserved exclusively for the Inca and religious elite, to everyone willing to make the pilgrimage to its majestic location. Words and images seem, and often are, futile when trying to apprehend the beauty and magnificence of Machu Picchu.

The whole world seems to have been captivated by the site which led to its being voted as one of the “ New Seven Wonders of the World” in 2007. Machu Picchu is the most visited archaeological site in South America, with nearly one million visitors per year.

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