Biyernes, Mayo 25, 2012

Machu Picchu, Peru

Machu Picchu ("old mountain" in Quechua, the ancient language of the Incas) nestles on top of a mountain saddle high above the Urubamba River in the middle of the cloud forest. It was both a center of worship and astronomic observatory as well as the private retreat of the family of Inca ruler Pachacútec. It is split into two major areas: the agricultural zone, made up of terracing and food storehouses; and the urban zone, featuring the sacred sector, with temples, squares and royal tombs which have been carved to an extraordinary degree of perfection. The stone staircases and canals are found throughout this unique archaeological site. Over the citadel looms Huayna Picchu ("young mountain" in Quechua), which can be climbed up a steep stone-paved trail
The Machu Picchu historic sanctuary, and particularly the forests that line both banks of the Urubamba River, below the citadel of Machu Picchu itself, are home to the habitats of an enormous variety of bird species, calculated at more than 400, such as the cock-of-the-rocks (Rupicola Peruviana), considered Peru's national bird. The area also features brightly-colored orchids and tree-born ferns, considered treasures of the sanctuary.
Located in the department of Cuzco, covering an area of 32,592 hectares, the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary protects unique species of flora and fauna, as well as featuring some breath-taking landscapes and preserving the archaeological sites to be found here. Much of the beauty and enchantment of Machu Picchu, Peru's premier tourist attraction, is due to its spectacular natural surroundings: the cloud forest region of this historic sanctuary.

Machu Picchu is home to some striking species, such as the cock-of-the-rocks (Peru's national bird) and the spectacled bear, the only bear species in South America. The area is also inhabited by the rare dwarf deer called sachacabra and the Huemal deer, plus more than 300 bird species. The area boasts a large variety of flora species, with some 200 species of orchids registered here to date.

Towering over the area is Mount Salkantay (6,271 meters), the highest mountain in the Cordillera Vilcanota range, worshipped by the locals as an apu mountain spirit. Machu Picchu combines a spectacular natural setting with the attraction of the world's most famous pre-Hispanic sites

The ancient Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is the star attraction of Cuzco. Discovered in 1911 by US explorer Hiram Bingham, the citadel is deemed one of the world's finest examples of landscape architecture.

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