Machu Picchu is a 15th century Inca citadel, also spelled Machupijchu. It is a site of ancient Inca ruins located about 50 miles (80 km) northwest of Cuzco, Peru, in the Cordillera de Vilcabamba of the Andes Mountains.
It is perched above the Urubamba River valley in a narrow saddle between two sharp peaks Machu Picchu (Old Peak) and Huayna Picchu (New Peak) at an elevation of 7,710 feet (2,350 metres).
Most archeologists believe that Machu Picchu was constructed as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438-1472). Often mistakenly referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas", it is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization.
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.
Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historic 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 is the most economically important tourist attraction in Peru, bringing in visitors from around the world.