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Machu Picchu
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    (circa 1450- )
    Located in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru
    Built on a ridge in the Andes Mountains (2,430 metres above sea level)
    Commissioned by Sapa Inca (King) Pachacuti
    Abandoned by the Incas during the Spanish conquests, in or around 1572
    Rediscovered by historian Hiram Bingham (1911)
    Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site (1983)
    There is continued debate as to what its actual function was.
    It is often mistakenly referred to as the 'Lost City of the Incas.'
    Three families of farmers were living at the site at the time it was 'discovered.'
    Its tourism racket is so exploitative that locals have jokingly dubbed it 'the Poncho Mafia.'
    Getting there usually involves a four hour train ride (you can also get there via the Inca Trail, but the hike takes four to five days).
    Its election to the 'New' Seven Wonders of the World was in part the result of an intensive media campaign waged by Peru's Ministry of Commerce and Tourism, which led residents to jam the online ballot box to ensure its selection (2007).
    Yale engaged in a decades long battle with the Peruvian government over artifacts excavated by Bingham in the early 1900s. (The thousand-plus collection was eventually returned in 2011.)
    It remained hidden from the Spanish conquistadors and thereby evaded destruction.
    It was unknown to the outside world for over three centuries.
    It was built without the use of draft animals, iron tools, or even the wheel.
    It has survived multiple earthquakes and stayed intact despite being situated on a fault line in a seismically unstable country (the structure is that meticulous).
    It was declared a Peruvian Historic Sanctuary by the Peruvian government (1981).
    It is an invaluable resource for historians seeking to learn more about Incan civilization in the absence of any written texts.
    The view of it from the Huayna Picchu peak can be breathtaking - even in the pouring rain (which is frequent).
    It is central to Peru's thriving tourist industry, boosting the country's economy in the process.

Credit: BoyWiththeGreenHair

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