Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca citadel located in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru on a 2,430-meter mountain ridge. It is located in the Machupicchu District within Urubamba Province above the Sacred Valley, which is 80 kilometers northwest of Cuzco. The Urubamba River flows past it, cutting through the Cordillera and creating a canyon with a tropical mountain climate.For most speakers of English or Spanish, the first 'c' in Picchu is silent. In English, the name is pronounced or , in Spanish as or, and in Quechua as.
The Incas, in contrast with the Mayans, had no written language, and no European visited the site until the 19th century, so far as is known. There are, therefore, no written records of the site while it was in use. The names of the buildings, their supposed uses, and their inhabitants are all the product of modern archeologists, on the basis of physical evidence, including tombs at the site.