Perched way up in the sky on a mountain top, often hidden by clouds, lies Machu Picchu, an intricate and sprawling complex built in the 15th Century and abandoned in the 16th Century when the Spaniards conquered the Incan Empire. I arrived in the early morning in the pouring rain. The clouds were so thick I could only see 30 feet in front of me at a time and even then not too clearly. I walked with no concept which direction to go. I spent hours sitting watching the clouds come and go and the scenery focus and then fade again. At first I couldn't see all the mountain peaks surrounding the site or the valleys deep below it. Finally the sun broke through and there below me was this amazing sight.
The incredible part of Inca building is that they didn't use draft animals or even use the wheel but somehow managed to transport all these huge stones up mountains and build walls that still lie intact today without any mortar between them. Many of their stones were cut to interconnect much like Lego and throughout Peru, a highly volatile seismic region; their buildings survive earthquakes as modern architecture falls.
Incan structures are visible throughout the Sacred Valley of Peru clinging on the side of mountains and nestled in valleys. In Cusco, the main city of the region and the capitol of the Incan Empire, the Spaniards built right on top of the Incan sacred sites, perhaps in an effort to quickly replace their religion and introduce Catholicism. Luckily the Spaniards never found Machu Picchu though, so it remains for all of us to enjoy.