CUZCO, Peru -- Former President Jimmy Carter visited the ancient lost city of Machu Picchu Wednesday and was named an honorary guest of Cuzco, which was once the center of the Incan empire.
On his first day in the Peruvian Andes, Carter and his wife, Rosalynn, were greeted by Indians in colorful costumes and toured Incan ruins more than 500 years old.
Machu Picchu is a Incan fortress-city that was mysteriously abandoned when the Spanish conquest began in the 1500s. It was rediscovered by U.S. explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911.
The Carters arrived in Lima late Tuesday night and hours later traveled in a Peruvian Air Force jet to Cuzco, former center of the Incan empire 500 miles southeast of the capital.
Mayor Daniel Estrada named Carter an 'honorary guest' in a ceremony in Cuzco's town square.
On Thursday the former president will fly over Peru's Lake Titicaca, South America's largest lake and the highest large lake in the world, located 12,500 feet above sea level. He also will visit housing projects sponsored by the Georgia-based Habitat for Humanity.
On Friday, Carter will meet with Peruvian President Fernando Belaunde Terry to discuss Latin America's foreign debt and other economic problems, Carter said in Cuzco. Late Friday he is scheduled to travel to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.