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Inca Trail History

Inca Trail to Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu itself was far off the beaten path, and served as a royal estate populated by the ruling Inca and several hundred servants. It required regular infusions of goods and services from Cuzco and other parts of the empire. This is evidenced by the fact that there are no large government storage facilities at the site. A 1997 study concluded that the site's agricultural potential would not have been sufficient to support residents, even on a seasonal basis.

Schematic overview of the altitude changes

Inca Hiking - Enjoy Per├║ HolidaysThe trail starts around Km 82 along the Urubamba River in a zone that the Peruvians call "Quechua": This zone is between 2300–3500m (7,539–11,473 ft) and has temperate, dry weather with average temperatures that range from 0 to 21°C (32 to 70°F). The rainy season is from December to March. The rest of the year is dry or even parched from May through September.

Effect of the conquest

The true extent of the road network is not completely known, since the Spaniards, post conquest, either dug up the road completely in some areas, or allowed it to deteriorate and fall into ruin under iron-clad horses' hooves, or the metal wheels of ox-carts.

Today, only 25 percent of this route is still visible, the rest having been destroyed by the construction of modern infrastructure. Different organizations such as UNESCO and IUCN have been working to protect this route, in collaboration with the governments and communities of the 6 countries through which the Great Inca Road passes.


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