Machu Picchu is a pre-Columbian Inca city located at 7,970 ft altitude on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, about 44 mi northwest of Cusco. Machu Picchu is the most familiar symbol of the Inca Empire. It is often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas".
The site was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1983 when it was described as "an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to the Inca civilization".
Machu Picchu, which means "Old Peak", was probably built by Pachacuti Inca as a royal estate and religious retreat in 1460-70. The site is comprised of approximately 200 buildings, most being residences, although there are temples, storage structures and other public buildings. It has polygonal masonry, characteristic of the late Inca period.
See also: Survivor: the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu