Friday, July 17, 2009

Day 40, Machu Picchu, Peru

Hmmm, we are unable to do trek, no, its not because we are a bunch of lazy bums...but because the Peruvian Government has very strict quotas on the number of trekkers allowed each day on the Inca trail.

We are going to miss out on the natural wonders of the forest, the ferns, the orchids, the hanging moss, the clean air and butterflies:-((.......
Let's quickly make alternative arrangements.....OK, we are going to take a train to Aguas Calientes and a bus from there to our destination.....Machu Picchu!

(Oh, dear, the World Monuments Fund placed Machu Picchu on its 2008 Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites in the world because of environmental degradation resulting from the impact of tourism, uncontrolled development in the nearby town of Aguas Calientes that included a poorly sited tram to ease visitor access, and the construction of a bridge across the Vilcanota
River that is likely to bring even more tourists to the site in defiance of a court order and government protests against it:-((

I am now really looking forward to seeing Machu Picchu which stands 2,430 m above sea-level, in the middle of a tropical mountain forest, in an extraordinarily beautiful setting. It was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height; its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments.

The city sits in a saddle between two mountains, with a commanding view down two valleys and a nearly impassable mountain at its back. It has a water supply from springs that cannot be blocked easily, and enough land to grow food for about four times as many people as ever lived there.

The hillsides leading to it have been terraced, not only to provide more farmland to grow crops, but to steepen the slopes which invaders would have to ascend.

There are two high-altitude routes from Machu Picchu across the mountains back to Cusco, one through the sun gate, and the other across the Inca bridge. Both easily could be blocked if invaders should approach along them. Regardless of its original purpose, it is strategically located and readily defended.

A no-fly zone exists above the area so no helicopter ride here......
The site received significant publicity after the National Geographic Society devoted their entire April 1913 issue to Machu Picchu.
An area of 325.92 square kilometers surrounding Machu Picchu was declared a "Historical Sanctuary" of Peru in 1971.
In addition to the ruins, this sanctuary area includes a large portion of adjoining region, rich with flora and fauna.
Machu Picchu 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".
On July 7, 2007, Machu Picchu was voted as one of New Open World Corporation's New Seven Wonders of the World.
Let's explore..............

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