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Ancient fortress city of the Incas in the Andes Mountains, south-central Peru. Perched near Cuzco in a narrow saddle between two sharp peaks, at an elevation of 7,710 ft (2,350 m), it escaped detection by the Spaniards, and its existence was made known only in 1911 by U.S. explorer Hiram Bingham. One of the few pre-Columbian urban centres found nearly intact, it is about 5 sq mi (13 sq km) in area and includes a temple and a citadel. The period of occupancy is uncertain. Made a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1983, it is a popular tourist attraction.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Machu Picchu, visit Britannica.com.