MACHU PICCHU: A UNESCO World Heritage Site
A world heritage site is a place in any country of physical or cultural significance that is protected from major industrial changes. A list of world heritage sites is created and monitored by the World Heritage Programme and the UNESCO (United Nations Educational Scientific Cultural Organization) World Heritage Committee, which is composed of 21 state parties. The program was officially founded on November 16, 1972, with several organizations contributing to its ideas and campaign. By 2010, 911 sites have been listed, with about 700 cultural and 180 natural. Sites such as the pyramids in Egypt, old cathedrals, and the Great Barrier Reef are recognized as treasures to the whole world and humanity, and so are preserved so that everyone can enjoy them.
Machu Picchu is a creation of the Inca Empire before the Spanish Conquest in the 15th century. It is often called “The Lost City of the Incas” and is believed to have been built for the emperor Pachacuti. It stands 2,340 m above sea level and is located in the Urabamba Valley in Peru. It is made with polished dry-stone walls, in the classical Inca style, with three primary buildings: the Intihuatana, the Room of the Three Windows, and the Temple of the Sun.
Its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem as if they have been cut naturally in the continuous rock escarpments.  The natural setting, on the eastern slopes of the Andes, encompasses the upper Amazon basin with its rich diversity of flora and fauna. 
The estate was started around AD 1400 but abandoned a century later at the time of Spanish colonization. Although known locally, it was brought to international attention in 1911 by the American historian Hiram Bingham.  In 1981, Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary and in 1983, a World Heritage Site. In November 2010, Peru and Yale University reached an agreement in which all artifacts held in Yale from Bingham’s collection in the 20th century were returned to a Peruvian university.
Published from Geography class 2010.
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