Machu Picchu is well known for its impressive archaeology. At a distance of 120 Km (75 miles) from Cusco, in the Valley of the Urubamba river, the citadel rises to an altitude of 2,400 meters (7,900 feet), above sea level between the Huayna Picchu (young peak) and Machu Picchu (old peak). It lies within the spectacular framework provided by the exuberant vegetation of the nearby jungle and the rugged landscape.
Machu Picchu, the lost city of the Incas , one of the most famed examples of Inca architecture is believed to have been built in the mid 15th century by Inca Pachacutec. Lost in history, it was not discovered until 1911 by American explorer Hiram Bingham. Since then, thousands of visitors from all over the world visit this amazing site in Southern Peru, one of the new seven wonders of the world.
However, only experienced travelers, or scientists are familiar with the ecological importance of the Sanctuary. The historical sanctuary of Machu Picchu protect the fragile mountain ecosystems and preserve important species of fauna and flora, numerous archaeological sites, and the surrounding forest.
There are more than 300 types of birds in Machu Picchu. The National bird of Peru (Rupicola peruviana) the Andean cock of the rocks, the Andean condor (Vultur gryphus), torrent duck (Merganetta armata), speckled Hummingbird (Adelomyia melanogenys), American kestrel (Falco sparverius), Rufescent tiger Heron (Tigrisoma lineatum), Rufous collared sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis), Streaked necked flycatcher (Mionectes striaticollis), among others live in the area
In the sanctuary there are several species of monkeys, rodents, mountain cats, tamandua anteaters, the Andean bear (Tremarctos ornatus), the native bear (Spectacled bear), puma, the giant Morpho species, spiders, millipedes, the coral snake, boa, etc.
Andean and Amazonian vegetation are also found in Machu Picchu: Uculmano (Podocarpus oleifolius), laurel (Nectandra sp), cedar (cedrela sp). A lot of ornamental plants and more than 200 registered species of orchids, Bromelias (Puya weberbaurei ), begonias among others.
The Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is much more than archaeology, history, and impressive natural setting. It also comprises an important ecosystem for visitors and scientists from all over the world.
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