First photo of Macchu Picchu upon rediscovery in 1912 by Yale archaeologist Hiram Bingham.
Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca site located on a ridge between the Huayna Picchu and Machu Picchu mountains in Peru. It stands 7,970 feet (2,430 meters) above sea level on the eastern slope of the Andes and overlooks the Urubamba River hundreds of feet below.
Machu Picchu means “Old Peak” in the indigenous language of Quechua. Most experts believe that Machu Picchu was constructed around 1400 AD as a royal estate for the Incan ruler Pachacútec Inca Yupanqui, the ninth ruler of the Inca. An empire builder, Pachacuti initiated a series of conquests that would eventually see the Inca grow into a South American realm that stretched from Ecuador to Chile. Machu Picchu was later abandoned during the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire in 1532. Over time it became famous as the legendary Lost City of the Inca.