General Information: the city of Machu Picchu
In order for the traveler to get to know in depth both the history of Machu Picchu, the history of the Inca civilization as well as the history of its surroundings, we would like to offer below all necessary and more current information on the Andean district of Machu Picchu.
The location of the Citadel of Machu Picchu is without doubt one of the biggest attractions of the area, geographically, the location of the Citadel is concentrated in particular in the Valley of the Huatanay River, East of the depression formed by Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu mountain systems with the Central Andes in the South of the country, on the eastern slope of the cordillera de Vilcanota only 120 kilometers from the city of Cuzco. The District of Machu Picchu is located within the district boundaries of the town of Urubamba, in the province of Cuzco. The Citadel of Machu Picchu is located Northwest of the city of Cuzco separated by just 110 miles away. The geographical location is determined by the angular coordinates exactly that locate in the position which latitude and longitude are respectively 13' 23 "and 72' 34" in the western area of the globe, to the West of the Greenwich Meridian; as for its location on the sea level, this citadel stood at a very high altitude of height, exactly at 2450 meters above sea level, although the highest point of the Citadel is however the Central Plaza of Machu Picchu, which is situated at height 2490 meter above sea level.
Geographically, the Citadel is located in one of the most majestic natural landscapes of the Valley which is formed by the confluence of two mountain systems of Machu Picchu and Huayna Picchu with the Central Andes in the South of the country, the decline of the eastern slopes of the sierra of the Vilcanota. This region of Machu Picchu has several of the most valuable ecosystems of the biosphere as a great biodiversity which has been shaped by the great variety of climates that has given rise to a huge catalogue of countless species of flora and fauna depending on the characteristics of each area can be found in this region. The reason why this region of Machu Picchu has such biodiversity lies in its marked mountainous which has given way to the different also created a geographic differences are expressed in different types of surface of the ground and different species of special flora and fauna, which have adapted perfectly to these various ecosystems. The region has been divided into the following areas:
- mountainous area: includes many areas of high and low mountain. The high mountain area consists of a series of plateaus with an inclination of about 45oron its slopes. These plateaus are found at some altitudes starting at 4000 meters, reaching overcome even the 6000 meters above the level of the highest sea in some of the peaks of the Andes; some of these are mount Veronica, 5682 meters high, or the Tucarhuay to 5910 meters, while the highest point is at the top of the Jatun Ausangate South, in the cordillera de Vilcanota. Even not being the highest peak in the area, the Salkantay is without doubt one of the most imposing of the region. The so-called "Inca Trail", which takes the traveller through the Puyupatamarca to the Citadel of Machu Picchu, shows each and every one of these Andean colossi. These altitudes cause that the temperature reaches levels below zero degrees by what constant weather in the form of snow precipitation do almost inscrutable. The low mountain area is concentrated on the slopes of the mountain with latitudes not exceeding the 4000 meters of height, where you can find the cities of Miscabamba and Churubamba. Its rainy climate is mainly characteristic during the Ibiza season between the months of November and March, which produces a winter of mild temperatures ranging between 11 and 15 degrees centigrade.
- forest area: the jungle of Machu Picchu includes areas found in the latitudes between 800 and 2000 meters of height. So typical of this area tropical climate provides mild temperatures throughout the year, as well as high levels of moisture in the atmosphere, which are excellent for the proliferation of all kinds of vegetation.
- urban area: comprises the area of the Park of Machu Picchu with its archaeological, urban and rural sectors of the Citadel as well as its surroundings, within an area of 10 hectares. This location is the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu, which reaches the town of Urubamba, Cuzco province. The Valley of the River in this region, the Urubamba river, crosses the entire area of the sanctuary, since its descent occurs from the snow-capped peaks of the Andes mountains with altitudes higher than 6,000 meters. In January 1981, the Peru Government was forced to impose by Decree of order different laws for the protection and conservation and the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu, obviously for its important significance historical and archaeological, as the entire ecosystem of Machu Picchu, for being one of the most important biosphere, which holds the a incredibly beautiful range of indigenous specimens of flora and fauna. The sanctuary is located in the upper plateau of Machu Picchu, exactly to 2,300 meters in height, which rests on the eastern slope of the cordillera Vilcabamba, delimited by the rivers Urubamba and Apurimac. It is here, in the valley formed by the Urubamba river, where sits the sanctuary and from where you can access also to the upper forest zone; This proximity to the jungle has been able to understand as part of a strategy of escape into the forest in case of attack.