Machu Picchu is an ancient Incan citadel located in Peru. It is situated on a mountain ridge 2,430 meters (7,972 ft) above sea level, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The site was built around 1450 and is believed to have been used as a royal estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti. The citadel was abandoned following the Spanish conquest of the Inca Empire in the 16th century. The site has become an iconic symbol of the Inca civilization and one of the most popular tourist destinations in South America.