South America: Ancient cities / Marcahuamachuco

PHOTO: renyanggong -7.795357 -78.070564

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The ruins of this mysterious ancient monumental center bespeak a majesty long forgotten through centuries of abandonment and decay. Built over 1,600 years ago atop a highland mesa at 3,200 meters (10,000 feet), it commands a sweeping view of the three northern Peruvian mountain valleys below it. Archaeologists call it the "Machu Picchu of the North", and rightly so. Covering more than 3 kilometers of land, it is known for its impressively massive castillos and circular double-walled structures and enclosures. But over the years, its impressive remains have fallen prey to the elements, both natural and human-derived, such as weathering, plant growth, livestock grazing, and lack of conservation. Now, it appears its long decline ends and a new lease on life begins.