"Machu Picchu was simply a royal estate," Burger explains. "You can think of it as the Inca equivalent of Camp David."
Casting it as something less than a spiritual center of the universe will, no doubt, sit less than well with New Age gurus, who have created in Machu Picchu a curious amalgam of Eastern and Andean mysticism—"Orientalism wearing a poncho," as one wag put it. But even if the site was merely a summer retreat for Inca royalty that had more in common with the Hamptons than with Jerusalem, Machu Picchu will lose none of its perennial allure.
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