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Peru > Pictures and travelogues > Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas

Pictures from Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas, and the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. 

Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas
Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas, in Peru.

The Incas built the estate around 1450, but abandoned it a century later at the time of the Spanish conquest. Machu Picchu is located between the two mountains Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu, 120 km  (75 mi) away from Cusco, the former capital of the Inca Empire. 

Machu Picchu is accessible on foot or by bus (20 min.) from Aguas Calientes, officially "Machu Picchu Pueblo", that is the nearest town to the archaeological site. Aguas Calientes is a small, expensive town which is served by the railway line from Ollantaytambo or Cusco-Poroy. From Ollantaytambo, the journey lasts about 1:30 h (about 40 km). From Cusco, you need first to take a bus or taxi to Poroy which is located 13 km /8 miles from downtown Cusco. Then the journey from Cusco Poroy to Aguas Calientes lasts a bit more than 3 hrs. A train service operates from Urubamba too. Aguas Calientes is accessible only by train. There are different train classes to suit all budgets.
The archaeological site is roughly divided into an urban sector and an agricultural sector, as well as the upper town and the lower town. The temples are part of the upper town, the warehouses the lower. Machu Picchu has been inscribed on the UNESCO world heritage list.

On the right-hand side of the picture: Huayna Picchu, a mountain that overlooks the ruins of Machu Picchu. 

Terraced Fields in Machu Picchu, in Peru. 
Terraced fields in Machu Picchu, in Peru.

The terraced fields look like large stairs built on the hillside. They are structures formed by stone walls that facilitate drainage. They were grown until the first decade of the 20th century.

In the lower part of Machu Picchu, the similar structures have smaller platforms than the terraced fields. They are actually not agricultural but serve as retaining walls.

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, also known as Camino Inca, connects Cusco to Machu Picchu. It consists actually of different overlapping trails: the classic 4-day or 5-day Inca trail, the short Inca trail (easy 2-day trek), and  the Salkantay & Inca 7-day trail trek. The classic trail starts at 82 km (i.e. 82 kilometres/52 miles along the railway from Cusco to Aguas Calientes) near Ollantaytambo or at 88 km (55 miles)  from Cusco. The short trail starts at kilometre 104 along the railroad from Cusco.

All guides on the Inca Trail must be licensed and only a limited number of trekking permits are issued and must be purchased many months in advance since the high season books out very quickly. The Inca Trail is the most famous trek in South America. Some unscrupulous travel agencies may sell you alternative itineraries.

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu is part of the Inca road system. The Incas built a highly advanced network of nearly 40,000 kilometers (25,000 mi) of trails in order to connect the distant parts of their vast empire. The network was based on two north-south roads (the eastern and western routes) with numerous branches and connections between both routes. Most of these roads have been destroyed by the construction of modern infrastructures or fell into ruin.



More pictures from Peru
Here you find the travelogue and many other photos that ADC Scuba Diving Antwerp (the author of the photos above) took during a trip to Peru: Lima, Arequipa, Colca Canyon, Puno, Lake Titicaca, Cusco, Sacred Valley, and Machu Picchu.

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Pictures from Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas, and the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru. Travel guide to Peru with many great pictures.