Many people grew up learning about the seven wonders of the ancient world. In 2000, however, an initiative was started to introduce new world wonders. This updated list reflects modern ideas about which sites are most fascinating, relevant, and historically important. One of the seven new wonders of the world is Machu Picchu in Peru. This has long been one of South America’s favorite tourist destinations for many reasons.
History of Machu Picchu
Machu Picchu, also spelled Machu Pikchu, is a site located in the Cusco Region of Peru. It is sometimes referred to as the Lost City of the Incas. It is estimated that the site was built around 1450, most likely in honor of the Inca emperor Pachacuti. The Incas, however, were forced to abandon Machu Picchu a century later when the Spanish invaded.
The original purpose of the area is not known for certain. It may have been constructed as the estate of the Inca emperor. Certain archeologists, however, believe that it was built as a sacred religious site. The fact that Machu Picchu was built in a mountain region that was considered sacred by the Inca culture supports this view.
After the fall of the Inca empire, Machu Picchu was abandoned. It was, however, discovered in the 19th century by European explorers. Although several German travelers, including the engineer J.M. von Hassel found the site, Machu Picchu was popularized by the American archeologist Hiram Bingham III, who found the site in 1911. Bingham organized a large scale excavation of the site. It became world-famous when National Geographic devoted an entire issue to the site in 1913.
In more recent years, Peru declared the entire area surrounding Machu Picchu a Historical Sanctuary. It is also a UNESCO World Heritage site. In 2008, the site was placed on the World Monuments Fund’s Most Endangered Sites list due to the impact of widespread tourism. Despite this, Machu Picchu remains a popular destination for travelers to Peru.
Modern Day Machu Picchu
People from all over the world visit Machu Picchu. Many, in fact, come to Peru primarily for this purpose. Those who are seeking an adventure take the Inca Trail trek, which covers some scenic trails at high altitudes. Hiking on the trail is restricted and a maximum of 500 people are allowed on the trail at one time. Hikers must be in good physical condition and the altitudes of up to 4,200 meters or 13,800 feet often result in altitude sickness. In addition to hiking to Machu Picchu, it is also possible to enter the ancient Inca city by taking buses or trains. There is an entrance fee to enter the site, and only a limited number of tickets are sold each day.
Machu Picchu is a large site and people usually spend at least a full day exploring it. There are guided tours, though it’s also permissible for visitors to explore the site on their own. One of the main attractions at Machu Picchu is the Sun Gate. This is the part of the city that is first visible when entering from the Inca Trail. The sun is visible through the gate each morning. People also like to climb the stairway to the Temple of the Sun, which is located close to the city’s summit.
Machu Picchu — One of the Seven New Wonders
There is a good reason why the site was declared one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. It is a unique relic from one of the world’s great civilizations. It is also sufficiently well preserved so that modern visitors can still have an idea of what it looked like many centuries ago. While archeologists and historians are still learning more about the Incas and the area, even the casual visitor can appreciate the beauty of this amazing site.