Machu Picchu, Peru
This Pleiades image, acquired 11 August 2012, shows Machu Picchu in Peru.
The Incan site is the source of many questions for archaeologists and historians as it is unknown what purpose the site served. It is theorised that it was either a palace, or a religious site important to the Incans.
The site was constructed in the 15th Century but abandoned a century later after the Spanish conquest of South America. Machu Picchu was never actually discovered by the Conquistadors, however, and remained unknown until the early 20th Century when it was discovered by an American historian in 1911.
Since this discovery archaeologists have been working to restore and explore the site, taking advantage of the opportunity to witness the lost site of the Incas. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1983 to acknowledge its significance. It is also a popular destination for tourists, who make the journey up the mountainside via the Hiram Bingham Highway to visit the site. The winding road is visible just to the right of the city in this image.
Also visible in the image, to the left and right of Machu Picchu, is the Urubamba River, which loops around the area where the city is located.
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