Nestled on the eastern slopes of the Andes, the startling originality of the magnificent architecture of Machu Picchu is framed by the rugged and densely-forested mountains that surround its location. Above the ruins, clouds form which on occasion can shroud the buildings, and the Urubamba River meanders past some 500 meters below. And as if all that were not enough, the enigmatic history of the ruins adds to their air of mystery.
The mountain known as Huayna Picchu provides the backdrop to this most famous legacy of Inca rule. In spite of its relatively recent construction – just over five centuries ago – this monumental site stands as an archetype of Andean civilisation. The skill with which stone has been used in the construction, its simplicity of form and the tendency to build in harmony with the landscape, grant Inca architecture the uniqueness that has given it universal fame. Machu Picchu is the greatest expression of those values, a complex that stands as testimony to the religiosity and world view of the Inca people.