The prospect of levelling a mountain ridge and constructing a luxury hotel would still be considered challenging today, but that is exactly what the Inca's achieved in the 15th Century. Machu Picchu, if current consensus is accepted, was a royal retreat for the great and good of the Incan Empire. Not only is the site a spectacle perched high above the Urubamba River, but it is an engineering masterpiece. As this recent Geoscientist magazine article presents.
As he forced his way through the forests of south eastern Peru a little over 100 years ago Hiram Bingham would not have believed the find he was about to make, or the interest that it would generate. Today, his discovery - Machu Picchu - has to be limited to 2500 visitors per day, all of whom gaze in awe at works that, when Bingham first saw them, were covered by thick forest. Yet the site is as breathtaking for the engineering feat required to put it there as it is for the beauty of its location.