Recollections of Machu Picchu

 

Entering Machu Picchu, the site cannot be seen until you walk around a bend in the mountain and the whole city unfolds before you. This massive site stretches before you to the mountain of Huayana Picchu which towers above the site at the far end. I was not prepared for the size and beauty of the site and the surrounding area.

Machu Picchu "Old Peak" sits 7,970 feet above sea level. It was built as a estate for the Inca Emperor Pachacuti in the 15th century. A century later the site was abandoned, it is thought smallpox brought by the Spaniards wiped out most of the population. Though the locals knew about the site, it was brought to international attention by Hiram Bingham in 1911. In 1983 it was made a UNESCO World Heritage site and in 2007 it was voted one of the new "Seven Wonders of the World".

It is best to stay overnight in Machu Picchu town, spending time at the ruins watching the sun rise or late afternoon when the "day trippers" have left on the train to Cusco. To sit alone at the high point surveying the site and beautiful mountain scenery, is one of the most spiritual experiences I have had.

 

Written by: Connie Gruich