DAVID NUNUK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY DAVID NUNUK / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Machu Picchu ruins on a ridge high in the Andes mountains. The tall peak of Huayna Picchu towers over the city in the background. 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.
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