Machu Picchu (Quechua: Machu Pikchu "Old Peak") is a pre-Columbian Inca city located at 2,430 m (7,970 ft) altitude on a mountain ridge above the Urubamba Valley in Peru, about 70 km (44 mi) northwest of Cusco. Machu Picchu is probably the most familiar symbol of the Inca Empire. It is often referred to as "The Lost City of the Incas". The site was designated as a World Heritage Site in 1983 when it was described as "an absolute masterpiece of architecture and a unique testimony to the Inca civilization".
Forgotten for centuries by the outside world, although not by locals, it was brought back to international attention by archaeologist Hiram Bingham in 1911, who made the first scientific confirmation of the site and wrote a best-selling work about it.