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 Pachacutec. Machu Picchu 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 called Machu Picchu. Over the citadel looms Huayna Picchu ("young mountain" in Quechua), which can be climbed up a steep stone-paved trail.
Climate in Machu Picchu:
Rainy during the summer (December to March). Sunny from May to September, although sudden showers are not uncommon. Maximum temperatures reach 27° C, while the minimum rarely dips below 11° C.
Access to Machu Picchu:
The Citadel of Machu Picchu is a three-hour train journey away from the city of Cusco, although it can also be reached by helicopter (30 minutes) or on foot (4 days down the Inca Trail).