Machu Picchu, Peruvian Andes. The tall peak in the background is Huayna Picchu. Machu Picchu was a city of the Incas, a civilisation that inhabited the Andean regions of northern South America. They ruled an extensive empire in the 15th and 16th centuries, which fell to the invading Spanish conquistadors. The city covers 13 square kilometres and is built in terraces of one-room stone houses (now roofless) arranged around central courtyards and linked by stairways. Machu Picchu is 80 kilometres north-west of Cuzco, Peru, 600 metres above the Urubamba River at an altitude of 2350 metres. It was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.
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