Machu Picchu 100 Year Anniversary

By Cusco Expert: Hernan, Peru, June 2011

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At 11,200 feet above sea level, Cusco is the heart of Tahuantinsuyo, Perus's pre-Colombian Empire. Cusco today is the oldest continuously inhabited city in South America, a fascinating and colorful paradox of the past and the present.

Explore Cusco visiting the Temple of the Sun, The Cathedral and the immense walled complex of Sacsayhuaman. Shop in the picturesque indigenous market located in Pisac and visit the ruins surrounded by the most impressive Inca terraces in all of Peru.

Discover the Sacred Valley and see the town of Ollantaytambo where the inhabitants still live much the same way as the Quechuas did during the Inca times. Ride mountain bikes on the Anta Valley and trek to Lares Valley to see Spectacular mountain scenery, glacier lagoons, hot springs, cloud forest habitad and cultural encounters with Quechua communities that still hold on to their traditional way of life.

Visit Machu Picchu, this year celebrating its 100th anniversary since its rediscovery by Hiram Bingham in 1911. Machu Picchu was unknown to the Spaniards. Its reason for existence remains under debate. Some argue it was built and populated by the family of one Inca ruler, Pachakutek. Others have proposed the principal function of Machu Picchu was to maintain a reliable supply of coca leaves for the priests and royals of Cusco. Other findings support the hypothesis that Machu Picchu was a university where the children of the leaders of other Andean cultures conquered by the Incas were taken to be taught and brainwashed.

At any rate, as we wander through the maze of empty plazas, chambers and dwellings saddled atop steep mountainsides, we will be unable to resist our own speculations at the impenetrable mystery of these stones.

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