With an extension of just over 35,000 hectares, the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu is much more than a collection of archaeological sites nestled in the abrupt cloud forest.
Machu Picchu is considered at the same time a masterpiece of architecture and engineering. Its peculiar architectural and landscape features, and the veil of mystery that has woven around it much of the literature published on the site, have made it one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet.
Seen from the air, the territory of the Sanctuary is shown as a large open book in the middle, with the mighty Urubamba River in its central part and two large mountain ranges that rush to either side of a deep valley covered by tropical vegetation.
The Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu was recognized internationally by UNESCO in 1983, granting it the category of Cultural and Natural Heritage of Humanity. Only two areas in the Americas bear this distinction (the other is Tikal, in Guatemala).
On July 7, 2007 Machu Picchu was chosen as one of the new wonders of the world at a ceremony held in Lisbon, Portugal.