Nowadays it is a Historic National Sanctuary, protected by the Peruvian Government by means of Law Nº 001.81.AA of 1981, that tries to conserve the geological formations and archaeological remains inside the Sanctuary, besides protecting its flora, fauna and landscape's beauty. The whole park has an extension of 32,592 Has.; that is 80,535 acres(325.92 km²; 125.83 mile²). Machupicchu (the Inkan City) is located on kilometer 112 (70 miles) of the Qosqo-Quillabamba railway; the train station is known as "Puente Ruinas" and lies at an altitude of 2000 mts (6560 ft.). From that station there are buses in order to get to South-America's most famous Archaeological Group that is found at an average altitude of 2450 mts (8038 ft.), and at 13°09'23'' of South Latitude and 72°32'34'' of West Longitude.
Machu Picchu is still the greatest anomaly of this beautiful country of Peru. The minute you walk into this Sanctuary, one is overwhelmed. According to the author, "this is the only place on the planet where there is peace."... In the upper area by the Pyramid section there are stonewalls with these intricate cut stones that weigh tons. How did they get these massive stones up to this area and how did they cut them? Close examination does not reveal even the slightest chip marks where they connect.
The Machu Picchu citadel is bookended by two apus, or sacred peaks. Mt Huayna Picchu marks the north end of the site; to the south stands Mt Machu Picchu. Both offer spectacular views, but while Mt Huayna Picchu turns away would-be visitors, the summit of Mt Machu Picchu nearly always stands empty.
The reason may be the difference in height. At 1,640ft, Mt Machu Picchu is more than twice as tall as its sister peak. But the reward for the 90-minute climb up flights of ancient stone stairs is the most incredible view that can be achieved (short of a helicopter) of how Machu Picchu was carefully integrated into its natural surroundings. Distant, skyscraping Andean peaks tower in the distance while the winding Urubamba River nearly wraps itself around the main site like a python.
There are 112krn of railway line between the city of Cusco and the station of Puente Ruinas or Machu Picchu. The trip starts in the station of San Pedro in Cusco, zig-zagging up the Picchu mountain until it reaches the highest point, a spot called "El Arco" (the arch), in the northwest part of the city. The route then descends to the villages of Poroy, Cachimayo and lzcuchaca until it reaches the Anta plains, an extensive cattle area. It climbs down the gully of Pomatales before descending to the Sacred Valley of the Incas, arriving at the station of Pachar. The route then crosses the Urubamba River to the right bank and arrives at the station of Ollantaytambo. For those who arrived here by the asphalt road of the Sacred Valley, one can board the train to continue to Machu Picchu.
Today, there's no question about the site's significance. More than 300,000 people a year make the trek to Machu Picchu to marvel at the 500-year-old structures built from blocks of granite chiseled from the mountainside.
They come by helicopter, train, and foot. They snap photos, meditate, and lounge in the sun. They come for a variety of reasons—to fulfill a romantic dream, tap into the energy of the Inca soul, or simply tick off a box on the list of the world's must-see sights.
"It certainly has appeal to everyone, whether they are interested in the history, or the magic, or just the stupendous beauty," said Carolyn Bointon, who formerly managed the Cusco clubhouse of the South American Explorers club and is now based in Quito, Ecuador.
The excited Bingham spread the word about his discovery in a best-selling book, sending hordes of eager tourists flocking to Peru to follow in his footsteps up the Inca trail. The site itself stretches an impressive five miles, with over 3,000 stone steps linking its many different levels. Today, more than 300,000 people tramp through Machu Picchu every year, braving crowds and landslides to see the sun set over the towering stone monuments of the "Sacred City" and marvel at the mysterious splendor of one of the world's most famous man-made wonders.
Tucked away in the rocky countryside northwest of Cuzco, Machu Picchu is believed to have been a summer retreat for Inca leaders, whose civilization was virtually wiped out by Spanish invaders in the 16th century. For hundreds of years afterwards, its existence was a secret known only to the peasants living in the region. That all changed in the summer of 1911, when Bingham arrived with a small team of explorers to search for the famous "lost" cities of the Incas.
The obscurity of Machu Picchu was enough to keep it hidden from the Spanish invaders, who were waging a relatively long series of wars with the Inca throughout the region. After the fall of ancient Machu Picchu, for reasons which are still wholly unknown, it would “disappear”, surviving only in the minds of a small percentage of natives who knew about it. In the year 1911, Yale archaeologist and academic, Hiram Bingham, discovered the ruins of Machu Picchu on a small expedition that had been sponsored by both Yale University and the National Geographic Society. Upon his discovery, Bingham was under the impression that he had found the city of Vilcabamba, which was the Inca Empire’s last stronghold.
The construction of Machu Picchu was likely started by order of the Inca emperor Pachacuti, earth shaker, sometime during the mid-15th century. Inca legend relates that Pachacuti ordered the construction of Machu Picchu to celebrate the defeat of a powerful rival ethnic group called the Chancas.
Machu Picchu, the ancient Inca City was named to be part of the new list of the Seven Wonders. The global vote that began in 1999, accumulated near 20 million votes in its initial phase. And the final decision on July 7, 2007 in Lisbon, Portugal to name to Machupicchu one of the New Seven Wonders of the Contemporary World for satisfaction of the Cusqueño town (Cusco's people). Machu Picchu is today the main archeological site of Peru and America, and probably the most beautiful place of the world.