HISTORIC SANCTUARY OF MACHUPICCHU / NATIONAL ARCHAEOLOGICAL PARK OF MACHUPICCHU (SHM-PANM)
The SHM-PANM is a natural and cultural area inscribed on UNESCO’s World Heritage List. Covering 37,302 hectares (92, 175 acres), it is one of the most biodiverse areas in Peru and contains more than 60 archaeological sites linked by a complex lnka road network.
Since the 1930’s, the Peruvian government has been promoting the research, conservation, and protection of the cultural (Ministry of Culture) and natural (Ministry of Environment) heritage of the SHM-PANM for being one of the most important areas of the country and where tourism is developed in a sustainable way.
The SHM-PANM is one of the most biodiverse areas in Peru, it harbors 24 Andean and Amazonian ecosystems, from the humid montane forests at 1900 masl to the peaks of more than 6000 masl. This highly rugged geography allows the existence of ideal habitats for wildlife, including 75 species of mammals, 444 of birds, 14 of amphibians, 24 of reptiles and 377 of butterflies; in addition to 423 species of orchids and 332 of trees, among q´euña, intimpa, cedar, alder, pisonay, unka and tara.
LLAQTA OR INKA CITY OF MACHUPICCHU
The most important archaeological site inside the SHM-PANM is the llaqta or inka city of Machupicchu, which was planned and built beginning around 1400 CE. Its construction demanded the participation of specialists in architecture, engineering, and astronomy, as well as massive amounts of labor. More than 50% of the construction work was focused on site preparation, the building foundations, and the drainage system. The site’s location reflects the need of the Inka State to have a religious, political, and administrative center with a sacred space that linked Inka-controlled land in the Andes and the Amazon basin.
The llaqta of Machupicchu represents a masterpiece of art, architecture, and engineering in perfect harmony with nature and is the most the most well-known legacy of the Inka civilization. It was abandoned during the second half of the sixteenth century; it was never lost, however, as it was occasionally visited and inhabited by local farmers. Some colonial documents refer to the Llaqta of Machupicchu as the “Settlement of the Incas” or the “Old Village of the Inga Named Guaynapicchu.” In 1874, the names “Machu Picchu” and “Huaina Picchu” appear for the first time in a cartographic document, which was prepared by engineer Herman Göhring. In 1911, Hiram Bingham, a professor from Yale University, visited the Llaqta and was impressed by its beauty and majesty. The following year he returned with a multidisciplinary team of professionals who conducted excavations and research in the area.
INKA ROAD NETWORK (RCI)
The RCI of SHM-PANM is part of the Qhapaq Ñan, a complex system of pre-Hispanic roads that had a transregional integrative function. It acquired its maximum expression during the inka period and it shows the elevated technological degree reached by Andean civilizations.
In the SHM-PANM, there are 42 sections covering an area of approximately 300 km. The enormous effort employed for the construction, habilitation and maintenance of these roads – which interconnect all the archaeological monuments and are adapted to the area geomorphology – was part of a state policy of control and connection between the Andes and the Amazon.