An absolutely breathtaking place from start to finish. No matter how many pictures you've seen, no matter how much you've heard about it, you'll gasp when you see it -- it's that kind of a place.
Machu Picchu was hidden in the jungle until it was discovered in 1911 by Hiram Bingham, an American historian. Now it's a big tourist attraction, with guides who blab on about the Celestine Prophecy and Erich von Danniken. Still, it's one of those things that no one should miss.
The place was crawling with tourists, so I missed a lot of good shots. This is one of the most photogenic spots on earth, and even so, there are still quite a lot.
On the way. If it looks precarious, it's because it is. It's actually more precarious than it looks, since the photo was taken from the back, which was snaked around. After the train we caught a bus.
|Road through the mountains|
|View of Machu Picchu
It's so hilly that you have ready-made aerial views.
|Agricultural terraces, tombs, temples and dwellings.|
|Dwellings on the right, sacred plaza in the middle, and main temple on the left.|
The people in the photo should give you an idea of the scale.
|From farther away|
|Yet another view.|
|Detail: center right of previous photo
The stones were fitted together perfectly without cement. In 700 years, this small shift was the only damage that numerous earthquakes could do.
|The hippie stone
for the non-philosophers among us. The tour guide said that many hippies think this stone emanates cosmic energy. This group hedged their bets.
Without the tourists. Another explanation is that it's a portrait of the mountains.
For those of you who prefer to bypass the portrait.
|Terraces, close up
Not a great idea to fall from here.
Though uncovered now, they had thatched roofs when they were in use.
|Pegs on the side of the roofs
Where the thatch was tied on with strips of llama leather
|The complex of buildings
was fairly extensive
Heavier stones support the lighter ones
|A bit of pre-Gaudi Gaudi|
|The center of Machu Picchu
This might have been an amphitheater.
|The possible key to everything
Recently, South African archaeologists located this stone buried in the center of the amphitheater. They think that this stone may be the crux of Machu Picchu.
|The other side of the amphitheater
With ant-like people on the terraces.
|Possible sacrificial altar
or at worst, an under-the-stairs type of place for naughty Inca children. Some naughty grown-up tourists crossed the ropes and had their picture taken.
|Dominic and Esther
My Swiss travel companions throughout the Cuzco trip.
|Aguas Calientes train station
On the way back. The train comes through infrequently, but the station also functions as the town.