Machu Picchu "old peak", is a 15th-century Inca site located 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level is an outstanding example of man's interaction with his natural environment, in the midst of a tropical mountain forest in an extraordinarily beautiful setting, Machu Picchu was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height. It is located in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province, Machupicchu District in Peru. It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley which is 80 kilometres (50 mi) northwest of Cusco and through which the Urubamba River flows. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacutec (1438–1472). Often referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas", it is perhaps the most familiar icon of Inca civilization.
Embedded within a dramatic landscape at the meeting point between the Peruvian Andes and the Amazon Basin, the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is among the greatest artistic, architectural and land use achievements anywhere and the most significant tangible legacy of the Inca civilization. Recognized for outstanding cultural and natural values, the mixed World Heritage property covers 32,592 hectares of mountain slopes, peaks and valleys surrounding its heart, the spectacular archaeological monument of “La Ciudadela” (the Citadel) at more than 2,400 meters above sea level. Built in the fifteenth century Machu Picchu was abandoned when the Inca Empire was conquered by the Spaniards in the sixteenth century. It was not until 1911 that the archaeological complex was made known to the outside world.
The approximately 200 structures making up this outstanding religious, ceremonial, astronomical and agricultural centre are set on a steep ridge, crisscrossed by stone terraces. Following a rigorous plan the city is divided into a lower and upper part, separating the farming from residential areas, with a large square between the two. To this day, many of Machu Picchu’s mysteries remain unresolved, including the exact role it may have played in the Incas’ sophisticated understanding of astronomy and domestication of wild plant species.
The massive yet refined architecture of Machu Picchu blends exceptionally well with the stunning natural environment, with which it is intricately linked. Numerous subsidiary centres, an extensive road and trail system, irrigation canals and agricultural terraces bear witness to longstanding, often on-going human use. The rugged topography making some areas difficult to access has resulted in a mosaic of used areas and diverse natural habitats. The Eastern slopes of the tropical Andes with its enormous gradient from high altitude “Puna” grasslands and Polylepis thickets to montane cloud forests all the way down towards the tropical lowland forests are known to harbour a rich biodiversity and high endemism of global significance. Despite its small size the property contributes to conserving a very rich habitat and species diversity with remarkable endemic and relict flora and fauna.
Huayna Picchu, Wayna Picchu "young peak" is a mountain in Peru around which the Urubamba River bends. It is located in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province, Machupicchu District. It rises over Machu Picchu, the so-called lost city of the Incas, and divides it into sections. The Incas built a trail up the side of the Huayna Picchu and built temples and terraces on its top. The peak of Huayna Picchu is about 2,720 metres (8,920 ft) above sea level, or about 360 metres (1,180 ft) higher than Machu Picchu.
According to local guides, the top of the mountain was the residence for the high priest and the local virgins. Every morning before sunrise, the high priest with a small group would walk to Machu Picchu to signal the coming of the new day. The Temple of the Moon, one of the three major temples in the Machu Picchu area, is nestled on the side of the mountain and is situated at an elevation lower than Machu Picchu. Adjacent to the Temple of the Moon is the Great Cavern, another sacred temple with fine masonry. The other major local temples in Machu Picchu are the Temple of the Condor, Temple of Three Windows, Principal Temple, "Unfinished Temple", and the Temple of the Sun, also called the Torreon