Machu Picchu was never discovered, simply forgotten, waiting to be found again, preserving its magic and its mysteries for the edification and delight of posterity. Probably built as a winter retreat by Pachacutec (around 1440) - the greatest Inca of them all - Machu Picchu abounds with civic and religious structures. Having no military significance, the Spanish never discovered it and it lay undisturbed and covered by foliage in the cloud forest. It is a marvel of symmetry and art, where every building, garden and temple evokes and lends itself to the surrounding landscape.
The royal palace
... as with the rest of the structures is full of trapezoidal doors
The Intihuatana (or "the place where the sun was tied") has been called by many a sundial, solar observatory, sacrificial altar or centerpiece of a temple aligned with the surrounding mountains.
Terraces abound ...
... as do long passages with magnificent views.
The view of Huayna Picchu is as impressive ...
... as the climb to its summit is daunting.
Sometimes its best to sit and stare while you marvel at this engineering feat ...
... and take a leaf out of the happy and carefree Coca-leaf seller's book!