топик Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is the ruins of a small city built in the 1400s by the Inca Indians. It is found high in the Andes mountain range in central Peru, South America. Machu Picchu is 6,750 feet above sea level, set in a tropical forest between two mountains. The Urubamba River can be seen 3,000 feet below.

The city likely served as a country estate for Inca nobles and as a religious retreat. It covered about 5 square miles and had 200 buildings. These included a palace, temples, storage buildings, and many smaller houses for servants. Fine craftsmen used local stone to build these structures, all of which were designed to fit into the landscape.

Terraced gardens with irrigation channels were built on the city’s steep slopes to grow potatoes and corn for the community. Stone stairways connected the different levels. Only nobles and priests , and their servants, would have known about Machu Picchu. By 1527, half of the Inca population had died of smallpox. In the next few years, many more people were killed in civil wars between rival groups. When the Spanish conquered Peru in 1532, the city was probably already abandoned and forgotten.

The Incas had no written language and the Spanish never discovered Machu Picchu, so the city remained forgotten until 1911. That year, an American historian and his local guides happened upon the ruined city. A few years later, an article appeared in the National Geographic Society’s magazine. Archeologists and tourists have been visiting it ever since.

In 1983, the United Nations named Machu Picchu a World Heritage Site. Today, it is Peru’s largest tourist attraction and is visited by 500,000 people each year. Some experts are concerned about the damage that so many visitors may be doing to the site.
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