The sanctuary is located 120 km northwest of Cusco high above the Urubamba Valley in the Vilcabamba highlands, the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu is one of the world’s most important archaeological sites and Peru’s premier tourist attraction.
Few works made by man have shown such a flair for landscape architecture as this citadel and the nearby archaeological sites. The archaeological complex sits strategically atop the saddle of Mount Machu Picchu (‘Old Peak’ in quechua), from which the citadel and the marvelous natural surrounds derive their name. Towering over the citadel is the imposing Huayna Picchu (‘Young Peak’), littered with the archaeological site. Both peaks are flanked by the raging Urubamba River, which flows East through the canyon 400 meters below the citadel.
The constructions at Machu Picchu are evidence of the Inca’s extraordinary skill in landscape architecture and drystone walling.
Some of the most interesting constructions are the Royal Tombs (near the gateway to the citadel), the Temple of the Sun, the Torreón or tower (the only circular structure), the high priest’s mansion, the Temple of the Three Windows, the Central Temple, the Sunken Square and the waterfalls and canals that make up the Inca Baths.