Must see attractions in Machu Picchu

  • Sights in Machu Picchu

    Intipunku

    The Inca Trail ends after its final descent from the notch in the horizon called Intipunku (Sun Gate). Looking at the hill behind you as you enter the ruins, you can see both the trail and Intipunku. This hill, called Machu Picchu (Old Peak), gives the site its name.

  • Sights in Machu Picchu

    Intihuatana

    This Quechua word loosely translates as the ‘Hitching Post of the Sun’ and refers to the carved rock pillar, often mistakenly called a sundial, at the top of the Intihuatana hill. The Inca astronomers were able to predict the solstices using the angles of this pillar. Thus, they were able to claim control over the return of the lengthening summer days. Its exact use remains unclear, but its elegant simplicity and high craftwork make it a highlight.

  • Sights in Machu Picchu

    Sacristy

    Behind and connected to the Principal Temple lies this famous small building. It has many well-carved niches, perhaps used for the storage of ceremonial objects, as well as a carved stone bench. The Sacristy is especially known for the two rocks flanking its entrance; each is said to contain 32 angles, but it’s easy to come up with a different number whenever you count them.

  • Sights in Machu Picchu

    Hut of the Caretaker of the Funerary Rock

    An excellent viewpoint to take in the whole site. It’s one of a few buildings that has been restored with a thatched roof, making it a good shelter in the case of rain. The Inca Trail enters the city just below this hut. The carved rock behind the hut may have been used to mummify the nobility, hence the hut’s name.

  • Sights in Machu Picchu

    Principal Temple

    The ‘temple’ derives its name from the massive solidity and perfection of its construction. The damage to the rear right corner is the result of the ground settling below this corner rather than any inherent weakness in the masonry itself.

  • Sights in Machu Picchu

    Temple of the Sun

    Just above and to the left of the ceremonial baths is Machu Picchu’s only round building, a curved and tapering tower of exceptional stonework. This structure is off-limits and best viewed from above.

  • Sights in Machu Picchu

    Temple of the Three Windows

    Important buildings flank the remaining three sides of the Sacred Plaza. The Temple of the Three Windows features huge trapezoidal windows that give the building its name.

  • Sights in Machu Picchu

    Inca Drawbridge

    A scenic but level walk from the Hut of the Caretaker takes you right past the top of the terraces and out along a narrow, cliff-clinging trail to the Inca drawbridge. In under a half-hour’s walk, the trail gives you a good look at cloud-forest vegetation and an entirely different view of Machu Picchu. This walk is recommended, though you’ll have to be content with photographing the bridge from a distance, as someone crossed the bridge some years ago and tragically fell to their death.

  • Sights in Machu Picchu

    Sacred Plaza

    Climbing the stairs above the ceremonial baths, there is a flat area of jumbled rocks, once used as a quarry. Turn right at the top of the stairs and walk across the quarry on a short path leading to the four-sided Sacred Plaza. The far side contains a small viewing platform with a curved wall, which offers a view of the snowy Cordillera Vilcabamba in the far distance and the Río Urubamba below.

  • Sights in Machu Picchu

    Ceremonial Baths

    If you head straight into the ruins from the main entry gate, you pass through extensive terracing to a beautiful series of 16 connected ceremonial baths that cascade across the ruins, accompanied by a flight of stairs.

  • Sights in Machu Picchu

    Royal Tomb

    Below the Temple of the Sun, this almost hidden, natural rock cave was carefully carved by Inca stonemasons. Its use is highly debated; though known as the Royal Tomb, no mummies were actually ever found here.

  • Sights in Machu Picchu

    Temple of the Condor

    This ‘temple’ is named for a carving of the head of a condor with rock outcrops as outstretched wings. It is considered the centerpiece of the Prison Group.

  • Sights in Machu Picchu

    Central Plaza

    The plaza separates the ceremonial sector from the residential and industrial areas.

  • Sights in Machu Picchu

    Prison Group

    At the lower end of this area is the Prison Group, a labyrinthine complex of cells, niches and passageways, positioned both under and above the ground.

  • Sights in Machu Picchu

    House of the High Priest

    Little is known about these mysterious ruins, located opposite the Principal Temple.