Machu Picchu (also known as “The lost City of the Incas”) is located 2,430 meters (7,970 ft) above sea level and is situated on an Andes mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, South America, which is 80 kilometers (50 mi) northwest of Cusco, Peru. Most archeologists deem that Machu Picchu was constructed as a manor for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). It is the most renowned Inca construction that has been built and known to date.
Constructed in the 1400’s at the explosion of the Inca Empire, this lost city was abandoned less than 100 years from its construction. It was abandoned as a delayed result of the Spanish Conquest. It is likely that most of its population died from smallpox, launched by voyagers before the Spanish conquistadors.
Furthermore, because there are no historical records of the Spanish ever knowing of this fascinating Inca city, it was of vital importance to its survival, as most of the Inca constructions in the Cusco area were completely destroyed by the conquistadores and new European constructions were built on top of these destroyed ruins. However, today most of the remote structures have been restored in hopes of giving tourist an enhanced concept of what the buildings looked like from the beginning.
Moreover, although Machu Picchu was already known locally, it was anonymous to outsiders until American historian Hiram Bingham brought the mysterious wonder to international attention. Since then it has become one of the most important tourist attractions in Peru and worldwide.
In 1981, Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary and in 1983 it was declared by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. Additionally, on July 7, 2007 it was declared one of the “New Seven Wonders of the World”