The city of Machu Picchu is the department of Cusco’s most important tourist attraction. Discovered to the world in 1911 by the American explorer, Hiram Bingham, this city is considered to be one of the most extraordinary examples of scenic architecture in the world.
The city of Machu Picchu itself was built at the top of a granite mountain. The Incas, using ingenious engineering techniques, were able to transport heavy stone blocks up the mountain side, and once there, they used their excellent masonry skills to produce amazingly polished stones that fit together perfectly.
– Foreign Adults S/. 126.00 nuevos soles
– Foreign Students S/. 63.00 nuevos soles
– Foreign Children (8 to 15 years) S/. 63.00 nuevos soles
– National Adult S/. 64.00 nuevos soles
– National Students S/. 32.00 nuevos soles
– Children (8 to 15)
S/. 32.00 nuevos soles
– Children (0 to 7) do not pay
The adult ticket to the citadel of Machu Picchu is only on sale online. The system of e-ticket purchase is:
1. Login to the web page: www.machupicchu.gob.pe ó www.drc-cusco.gob.pe and make a reservation..
2. Pay for the reservation in the offices of the Banco de la Nación (The National Bank) or in the offices of the DRC Cusco (in the city of Cusco and Aguas Calientes), within six hours of booking.
3. Reenter the web page and enter payment data in order to complete the registration process.
Buying tickets for students and children takes place directly in the offices of the DRC or authorized travel agencies. The student must carry a valid ISIC card.
* PromPerú is not responsible for the variation in prices or buying process.
The city is divided into two architectural sectors or districts:
It is a three-walled building with several windows, which you come to before reaching the main gate. The view from here offers a panorama of the two large sectors, the agricultural and the urban, as well as the surrounding scenery.
This district is surrounded by a series of agricultural terraces that differ in type and size and might have performed two chief functions, one being crop growing and the other protection from water erosion caused by intense rains. Within the agricultural sector are five storehouse-like structures, called collpas or granaries.
The physical separation between this sector and the agricultural is a dry moat, and from this site you can also see a rather long stairway leading to the main gate. One of the features of an Incan city (llaqta) is that the main architectural elements are found within this sector. And in the case of Machu Picchu, the city is shaped as a letterU.
To the north is a large sub-sector, religious due to the number of temples there, and to the south is a group of homes and workshops built on terraced platforms that Hiram Bingham christened the military group.
Upper cemetery and burial stones
In Machu Picchu, as in all Incan cities, the Incas buried their dead in outlying areas. Researchers have uncovered skeletal remains in this place, and in the upper part, they found smallstones that are part of the site, an indication that they were used as some sort of offering by the Incas.
Temple of the Sun
The building is designed as a semi-circle and constructed on a foundation of rock, an existing granite block fashioned to follow the natural curve and whose perimeter measures 10.5 meters. There are two trapezoidal windows in which the builders added moldings at each of the corners. On the north side is a wonderfully stone worked gate, and in its jambs, the Incas drilled holes, much like what is found in the QoricanchaTemple in the city of Cusco.
This menhir stands 3 meters high, measures 7 meters around at its base, and has been fashioned to look like a cat. From a different angle though, it recalls the profile of one of the mountains surrounding Machu Picchu. Because of the characteristics of the group this rock belongs to, which also features two “huayranas” or three-walled rooms, it probably fulfilled ceremonial purposes.
Temple of the Three Windows
This building, located on the eastern side of the main square, exhibits a large rectangular floor plan and owes its name to the main section, where there are three beautiful windows plus two open spaces. The architectural style exhibited in this structure, together with the main temple, is by far the most striking of all Machu Picchu; we are talking about enormous, meticulously fashioned stones, fitted to such a degree that mere millimeters separate them.
It is north of the sacred plaza, hard by the Temple of the Three Windows. The Incas built it as a wayrana, i.e. an 11 meter by 8 meter rectangular structure but with only three walls, which measure .90 meters in thickness. At the foot of the main wall is a sculpted stone that might have served as an altar.
This intrusive rock is the ceremonial center of Machu Picchu. The word can be translated as sun (inti) year (wata) and was a place where the Incan astronomers studied the solar year to possibly determine the solstices and equinoxes. Many researchers believe the Incas might have used the angles of the Intiwatana as a directional landmark in order for them to find magnetic north. Whatever the case may be, it certainly was the ceremonial axis of great religious significance.
There are four plazas in Machu Picchu located at different levels, yet they all feature classic Incan architecture in the form of their rectangular shape. The architects linked them together by staircases that were built into the construction of the terraces. The largest of these is the main square, which fulfilled religious and social functions.
Mausoleum or tomb
The enormous, leaning stone block supporting the lower part of the Temple of the Sun forms a grotto that had been decorated and prepared with exceptional skill and later used as a mausoleum. It was also a place where the people worshipped and made offerings to the mummies of the chief rulers. At its entrance you see a depiction of the earth goddess’s stair step symbol.
Although the doors found throughout Machu Picchu feature a variety of textures, sizes, and architectural styles, differing one from another, they all possess the traditional form of a trapezoid.
The eternal guardian of the Sanctuary, Wayna Picchu (meaning “young mountain” in Quechua) towers over the Incan city. To conquer its summit is truly an unforgettable experience. Along the route and at the top are sacred structures and eye catching terraces, built right against the slope’s edge.
It is possible to begin the ascent from Machu Picchu’s main square by way of a path the Incas themselves made. Today, it is well marked and in good condition. The view from Wayna Picchu is remarkable: Machu Picchu spread out in all its glory, the VilcanotaRiverCanyon, and the surrounding mountains. Be prepared for a tough two to three hour climb.
Wiñaywayna means “forever young” in Quechua, and is perhaps the most beautiful building along the Inca Trail. On the third day of trekking is when you reach this spot, located at an altitude of 2,700 meters, with its small urban sector and must see ceremonial fountains, ten to be exact, and a tower of typical Incan stonework. Other noteworthy sights include the stairway connecting the complex’s different levels and the agricultural sector with hanging terraces that defy the sheer precipice falling towards the VilcanotaRiverCanyon below.
You do not need to complete the four or eight day trek of the Inca Trail to visit Wiñaywayna. You can reach it from the village of Machu Picchu following the section of train tracks and then beginning your climb at the 104th kilometer. Expect the journey to take three and a half hours.
INCA TRAIL (CAMINO INCA)
This is the name given to part of the vast network of trails built by the Incas that united the main administrative and religious centers of their empire, what they called the Tahuantinsuyo. One of these trails connects the city of Cusco with Machu Picchu. There are various trekking options offered, such as the eight day trip, requiring that the traveler be in peak physical condition. It features an ascent of the slopes of MountSalkantay. Yet, there is another one day trip,allowing you to fully appreciate the experience of journeying along the route without having to struggle on a seriously demanding trek. Its chief stopping point is the Wiñaywayna archeological site.
The most popular section is the four day trek. Because the trial cuts through incredibly beautiful landscape, due to several different ecological tiers, and passes by archeological sites built by the Incas, it has earned the reputation of being one of the world’s best trekking destinations. The trail crosses mountain passes that hover around altitudes of 4,000 meters, like Warmiwañusqa (4,200 m) and Runkuraqay (3,860 m), descends to 2,000 meters (eyebrow of the jungle), takes the trekker on rather long staircases cut in the mountain side, and passes through tunnels that reach 20 meters in length. This section begins at Piskacucho, at the 82nd kilometer of the Cusco – village of Machu Picchu railroad.
Día 1: Piskacucho – Llulluchapampa, 7 hours.
Día 2: Llulluchapampa – Chaquicocha, 8 hours
Día 3: Chaquicocha – Wiñaywayna, 7 hours
Día 4: Wiñaywaya – Intipunku, 1.30 hours
The “Doorway of the Sun”, translation from Quechua, is the entrance to Machu Picchu along the Inca Trail. Arriving there before sunrise in order to watch as the Incan city shows itself through the clearing mist shroud at dawn is truly an exciting, unforgettable, and sublime experience.
The Intipunku provides the viewer a majestic and complete view of Machu Picchu as well as the sacred mountain of Wayna Picchu. The site, featuring stone buildings and steep stone stairways, seems to be some type of customs checkpoint for people arriving and departing the city.
TEMPLE OF THE MOON
If you set off from the Machu Picchu main square and trek for three hours along this path, you will come to this fascinating temple, where the three planes of Incan religion are depicted: the Hanan Pacha (the heavens, or world of above), the Kay Pacha (the earth, or physical life), and the Ukju Pacha (the underworld, or world of below), represented respectively by the condor, the puma, and the snake.
To help with preserving this priceless archeological monument and world natural and cultural heritage site, we recommend you bear the following in mind:
– Bring drinks in canteens only
– Do not bring food or eat within the monument
– Come in groups of no greater than 20 people
– Do not climb the walls
– Lighting open fires is strictly prohibited
– Put litter in the indicated trashcans
– Do not disturb the site’s plant and animal species
– Do not contaminate water sources
– Walk only on the signaled circuits
During a trek along the Inca Trail, the following is absolutely prohibited:
– Lighting campfires and cooking over an open flame
– Spending the night in archeological sites
– Gathering plants, flowers, insects, and animals along the route