“I wonder if anyone will believe what I’ve found?” Hiram Bingham
Hiram Bingham was searching for the lost city of Vilcabamba – the old capital of the descendants of the Inca ruling class – when he stumbled upon Machu Picchu in 1911. Here was a ‘lost city’ – a maze of terraces, walls and buildings – buried beneath the thick Peruvian jungle. He later wrote: “It seemed like an unbelievable dream. What place could this be?”
This is a question that has baffled archaeologists ever since. Some have suggested it was a fortress for defence purposes, while others believe it was likely a ceremonial or spiritual site honouring the sun, moon and surrounding mountains. A more-recent theory is that this was a royal palace or mountaintop retreat.
Whatever its origin, Machu Picchu is an impressive sight, particularly when you’ve hiked 45km to get there via the Inca Trail. From the Sun Gate, with the sun’s first rays illuminating the ruins, it’s nothing short of breathtaking. The city is perched on a saddle between two mountains with the iconic Huayna Picchu looming in the background, and it’s a view that gets more impressive the closer you get.
Arriving at Machu Picchu by foot is a wonderful feeling, but there is definitely an advantage to arriving by bus. I must admit that most of what our guide told us went in one ear and out the other; I was just too exhausted to fully appreciate everything I was seeing. So, the next time I’m in Peru, I’ll take the bus and have plenty of energy to fully explore the wonder that is Machu Picchu. Here are just a few of my photographs. I hope you enjoy them.
“It fairly took my breath away.” Hiram Bingham
If you would like to read about my trek on the Inca Trail, please click on the links below:
- Adventure in Peru – Part 1 (Cusco and the Sacred Valley)
- Adventure in Peru – Part 2 (Inca Trail – Day 1)
- Adventure in Peru – Part 3 (Inca Trail and Machu Picchu)