The sound of several Inca pututus, instruments made from shell or animal horn, echoed through the ancient ruins of Machu Picchu and the surrounding Peruvian Andes as the New7Wonders team made the 19th of 21 stops on the World Tour.
Local children, dressed in colorful traditional costumes, were on hand as Mercedes Araoz, Peru’s Minister of Foreign Trade and Tourism, and Machu Picchu Pueblo Mayor Edgar Miranda accepted the official certificate of candidacy from New7Wonders Founder and President Bernard Weber.
In return, Bernard received an ornate Inca rod and the keys to the city of Machu PIcchu – an incredible honor.
The New7Wonders team marveled at the site’s impressive mix of well-preserved houses, courtyards and terraces sprawled majestically on the side of the incredibly steep mountain.
The building techniques of the Incas, combined with their knowledge of astronomy, agriculture and engineering, are a tribute to the sophistication of the society.
Machu Picchu (Spanish pronunciation, Quechua: Machu Picchu, “Old Peak”) is a pre-Columbian 15th-century Inca site located 2,430 metres (7,970 ft) above sea level. Machu Picchu is located in the Cusco Region of Peru, South America.
It is situated on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, which is 80 kilometres northwest of Cusco and through which the Urubamba River flows. Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472).
Often referred to as the “City of the Incas”, it is perhaps the most familiar icon of Inca civilization.
The Incas started building the “estate” around 1400, but abandoned it as an official site for the Inca rulers a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Although known locally, it was unknown to the outside world before being brought to international attention in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham.
Since then, Machu Picchu has become an important tourist attraction. Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed in order to give tourists a better idea of what the structures originally looked like. By 1976, thirty percent of Machu Picchu had been restored. The restoration work continues to this day.
Since the site was never known to the Spanish during their conquest, it is highly significant as a relatively intact cultural site. Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. In 2007, Machu Picchu was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in a worldwide Internet poll.
Machu Picchu was built in the classical Inca style, with polished dry-stone walls. Its three primary structures are the Intihuatana, the Temple of the Sun, and the Room of the Three Windows.
These are located in what is known by archaeologists as the Sacred District of Machu Picchu. In September 2007, Peru and Yale University almost reached an agreement regarding the return of artifacts which Yale has held since Hiram Bingham removed them from Machu Picchu in the early 20th century. In November 2010, a Yale University representative agreed to return the artifacts to a Peruvian university.