See the grand Machu Picchu, The Sacred Valley, & traditional beautiful towns

Peru

Lima is a sum of colors, textures and sounds. It is a cosmopolitan capital par excellence where the taste is acquired from the flavor offered by its street-side cooks frying anticuchos or soft picarones in syrup against a backdrop of colonial balconies, old houses, and churches with secret tunnels. Lima's Historical Centre, was declared a World Cultural Heritage in 1988


Machu Picchu is so wondrous that it almost defies description. Among the most impressive features of the once-vast Incan civilization were enormous temples, palaces, fortresses and public works, skillfully erected with a minimum of engineering equipment. Machu Picchu, a sacred site of the Incas, is now acknowledged as South America’s most spectacular site on the continent. Its remote location in nearly impassable terrain high above a river canyon cloud forest virtually guaranteed it would become the “Lost City of the Incas.” It remained lost and forgotten for 400 years, and to this day it retains an air of grandeur and mystery. The ruins are located in a lush jungle and are believed to have been built in the mid 15th century by Inca Pachacutec. Machu Picchu, the Lost City of the Incas, is one of the most famous examples of Inca architecture and is located 112 km from the city of Cuzco (a 3½ hour train journey), 2,350 meters above sea level. Lost in history, the ruins were not discovered until 1911 by the American explorer, Hiram Bingham. Cuzco, the gateway to Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, is surrounded by the wonders of nature and impressive architectural ruins.  Due to its position as the capital of the Inca dynasty, Cuzco, 3,300 meters above sea level, is a showcase of several different cultures - pre-Inca, Inca, Colonial and Republican. Cuzco was an administrative, military and holy city, similar to Mecca, and is now the oldest inhabited city of the Americas.  As a result, many splendid styles of architecture are found here, reflecting the diversity of cultural influences on the city.


The beautiful Sacred Valley, known as Vilcamayo to the Incas, stretches out from Pisac to Ollantaytambo along the Urubamba River or "Sacred River".  Standing guard over the two extremes of the Sacred Valley road, the ancient Inca citadels of Pisac and Ollantaytambo hang high above the stunning Río Vilcanota-Urubamba and are among the most evocative ruins in Peru. Pisac is a small, pretty town just 30km from Cuzco.  At the market of Pisac indigenous vendors gather dressed in colourful, traditional clothing to sell their produce to one another and their crafts to you. The picturesque village of Ollantaytambo and its ruins are said to contain the most impressive Inca stonework anywhere in Peru and is overwhelmed by the great temple-fortress clinging to the sheer cliffs beside it. The legend counts that Ollántay (the titan of the Andes) of plebeian origin, loved the princess Cusi Coyllor.  The Inca King's daughter Pachacútec was in disagreement with this love and sent the princess to a house of Virgins. Ollántay tried to abduct her, unsuccessfully.  From the fortress that Ollántay controlled he rebelled against Pachacútec, and after bloody battles was defeated, but the generosity of Pachacútec forgave the life of Ollántay. The Sacred Valley is one of the most important parts of Cuzco.  Numerous rivers converge in it, most with their origin on the Icy Mountains.

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