Photo story – Machu Picchu

“I wonder if anyone will believe what I’ve found?” Hiram Bingham

Sue and Karen at Machu Picchu

Sue and Karen at Machu Picchu.

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.

First view of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate

First view of Machu Picchu from the Sun Gate.

Machu Picchu - the 'old mountain'

Machu Picchu – the ‘old mountain’.

The 'lost city' sits on a small hill between the Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu mountains.

The ‘lost city’ sits on a small hill between the Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu mountains.

The end is in sight - trekking from the Sun Gate to Machu Picchu.

The end is in sight – trekking from the Sun Gate to Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu is situated at 2400 metres above sea level.

Machu Picchu is situated at 2430 metres above sea level.

First view of some the terraces, where crops were grown.

First view of some the terraces, where crops were grown.

Llamas feeding, oblivious to the trekkers arriving at Machu Picchu.

Llamas feeding, oblivious to the trekkers arriving at Machu Picchu.

Llamas at Machu Picchu.

Llamas at Machu Picchu.

It's only when you begin to explore the 'lost city' that you realise how big it is - 800 metres in length.

It’s only once you enter the ‘lost city’ that you realise just how big it is – 800 metres in length – and there are so many buildings to explore and terraces to climb.

In 1983, the Machu Picchu Historic Sanctuary was internationally recognised by UNESCO as a Cultural and Natural Patrimony of Humanity. It's also been recognised as one of the 'Seven Wonders of the Modern World'.

In 1983, Machu Picchu was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It has also been named as one of the ‘Seven Wonders of the Modern World’.

An incredible view of the mountains surrounding Machu Picchu.

An incredible view of the mountains surrounding Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu's remarkable terraces are an example of the Inca's advances in architecture.

Machu Picchu’s remarkable terraces are an example of the Inca’s advances in architecture.

The Temple of the Sun, which is presumed to be a place for astronomical observance. It's two windows align with the setting sun during the winter and summer solstices (June 21 and December 21).

Temple of the Sun, presumed to be a place for astronomical observance. It’s windows align with the setting sun during winter and summer solstices (21 Jun & 21 Dec). Also, at its base, the temple opens to an inner chamber (named the Royal Tomb by Hiram Bingham).

A window that connects the Temple of the Sun with the Chamber of the Princess. This building contains some of the best carved stonework in Machu Picchu, as the stones fit perfectly together.

A window connecting the Temple of the Sun with the Chamber of the Princess. This is some of the best carved stonework in Machu Picchu, with stones fit perfectly together.

One of the buildings that make up the Royal Palace.

One of the buildings that make up the Royal Palace.

View from the Sacred Plaza.

View from the Sacred Plaza.

Overlooking the buildings of the Royal Palace.

Overlooking the buildings of the Royal Palace.

Machu Picchu once contained an enormous botanical garden.

Machu Picchu once contained an enormous botanical garden.

Another remarkable view of the steep terraces of Machu Picchu and the imposing mountain surrounds.

Another remarkable view of the steep terraces of Machu Picchu and the imposing mountains surrounding the ‘lost city’.

Vertigo, anyone?

Vertigo, anyone?

Huayna Picchu translates as 'young mountain' and this may have been an astronomical observatory or a place for religious worship.

Huayna Picchu translates as ‘young mountain’ and this may have been an astronomical observatory or a place for religious worship.

A natural rock that resembles Huayna Picchu in the background.

A natural rock that resembles Huayna Picchu in the background.

Huayna Picchu is 2730 metres above sea level. After hiking the Inca Trail, Sue and I were too tired to attempt this steep trail for an alternative view over Machu Picchu.

Huayna Picchu is 2730 metres above sea level. After hiking the Inca Trail, Sue and I were too tired to attempt this steep trail for an alternative view over Machu Picchu.

“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:

Advertisements

8 thoughts on “Photo story – Machu Picchu

  1. Wow, you had such lovely weather! Ours was very cloudy & misty which added to the ambience but a little disappointing when we got to sungate at 5am & couldn’t see in front of ourselves! However, it cleared up during the day so we could appreciate the mysterious qualities of this amazing city…

    • We were so lucky with the weather while we were hiking the Inca Trail and when we arrived at Machu Picchu. The only mist we had was in the cloud forest towards the end of our very long second day… but by the next morning it was blue skies again. I feel very fortunate. Thanks for your comment 🙂

  2. Well done Karen. It’s a great story and easy to read. I can imagine the trek being a challenge! Was it humid at all? What month did you travel there? Best wishes with your writing. It must be wonderful to earn money from what you love doing.

    • We were in Peru in August and it was HOT during the day and freezing at night. I don’t think it was humid, but on the third day we were in full sun for the entire walk and that was the most difficult aspect of that particular day. I think the heat on the first day was also a factor in my not coping with the altitude. Thanks for reading my blogs Ulla 🙂

  3. That is a lot of hiking, taking a bus sounds better. Did you sign up a tour agent in US?
    Also, it doesn’t look like you made a link of your blog to your Blog Picture’ the link can help readers to find your blog easily… 🙂

    • I love hiking so the idea of being out for 3-4 days didn’t worry me; also the porters carry most of your gear, so it’s really just a matter of how well you cope with altitude. For me, the altitude was a problem. But for others, it’s not too much of a problem. My sister did really well. So I always tell people to give it a go… because you might surprise yourself. It is an awesome hike!

      I went from Australia with Intrepid Travel – they are online – and we had people from the US, Australia and the UK on our tour. I’d recommend them 🙂

      • Thank you so much for sharing the information! This is such an awesome place, I hope to visit in the near future.

  4. Pingback: Memorable travel moments – Dead Woman’s Pass | kgrahamjourneys

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s