Machu Picchu is a 15th-century Inca citadel located in the Eastern Cordillera of southern Peru on a 2,430-meter (7,970 ft) mountain ridge. It is located in the Machupicchu District within Urubamba Province above the Sacred Valley, which is 80 kilometers (50 mi) northwest of Cuzco. The Urubamba River flows past it, cutting through the Cordillera and creating a canyon with a tropical mountain climate.
Most archeologists believe that Machu Picchu was constructed as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often mistakenly referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas", it is the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. The Incas built the estate around 1450 but abandoned it a century later at the time of the Spanish conquest. According to the new AMS radiocarbon-dating, it was occupied from c. 1420-1532.
In the Quechua language, machu means "old" or "old person", while pikchu means either "portion of coca being chewed" or "pyramid, pointed multi-sided solid; cone". Thus the name of the site is sometimes interpreted as "old mountain".