The image shows the ruins of Machu Picchu, located 2,430 metres above sea level in the middle of a tropical mountain forest in an extraordinarily beautiful setting. It was probably the most amazing urban creation of the Inca Empire at its height; its giant walls, terraces and ramps seem to 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. In this image, a crooked, eight-kilometre-long serpentine path is readily visible, and somewhat above it is an ancient Inca path also leading to Machu Picchu over mountain passes. On the right side of the central square are the Temple of the Condor and royal graves. Above the site is the summit of Huayna Picchu with its sugar loaf shape.
The image was taken on 1 June 2007 by the Quickbird satellite and has a resolution of 0.6 metres. It covers an area of three by six kilometres.
Credit: DigitalGlobe Inc./DLR.