quarta-feira, 12 de setembro de 2007

MACHU PICCHU

Machu Picchu is a pre-Columbian city created by the Inca Empire. It is located at 2,430 m (7,970 ft) on a mountain ridge. Machu Picchu is located above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, about 70 km (44 mi) northwest of Cusco. Forgotten for centuries by the outside world, although not by locals, it was brought back to international attention by archaeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911, who made the first scientific confirmation of the site and wrote a best-selling work about it. Peru is pursuing legal efforts to retrieve thousands of artifacts that Bingham removed from the site.

History

Machu Picchu is probably the most familiar symbol of the Inca Empire. Often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas", since 1983 the site has been designated as a World Heritage Site and now one of the 7 wonders of the world nominated on July 7th 2007 ( 07. 07. 07) or the day of the "Live Earth" agenda.

The Intihuatana ("tie the sun") is believed to have been designed as an astronomic clock by the Incas

Machu Picchu was constructed around 1450, at the height of the Inca empire, and was abandoned less than 100 years later, as the empire collapsed under Spanish conquest. Although the citadel is located only about 50 miles from Cusco, the Inca capital, it was never found and destroyed by the Spanish, as were many other Inca sites. Over the centuries, the surrounding jungle grew to enshroud the site, and few knew of its existence. In 1911, Yale historian and explorer Hiram Bingham brought the “lost” city to the world’s attention. Bingham and others hypothesized that the citadel was the traditional birthplace of the Inca people or the spiritual center of the “virgins of the sun,” while curators of a recent exhibit have speculated that Machu Picchu was a royal retreat.

It is thought that the site was chosen for its unique location and geological features. It is said that the silhouette of the mountain range behind Machu Picchu represents the face of the Inca looking upward towards the sky, with the largest peak, Huayna Picchu (meaning Young Peak), representing his pierced nose.

In 1913, the site received significant publicity after the National Geographic Society devoted their entire April issue to Machu Picchu.

On July 7th, 2007, Machu Picchu was voted as one of New Open World Corporation's New Seven Wonders of the World.

Location

Machu Picchu is 70 kilometers northwest of Cusco, on the crest of the mountain Machu Picchu, located about 2,350 meters above sea level. It is one of the most important archaeological centers in South America and the most visited tourist attraction in Peru.

From the top, at the cliff of Machu Picchu, is a vertical precipice of 600 meters ending at the foot of the Urubamba River. The location of the city was a military secret because its deep precipices and mountains were an excellent natural defense.

In 1981 an area of 325.92 square kilometres surrounding Machu Picchu was declared a "Historical Sanctuary" of Peru. This area, which is not only limited to the ruins themselves, also includes the regional landscape with its flora and fauna, highlighting the abundance of orchids.

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