The Andes is the longest continental mountain range in the world. It is a continual range of highlands along the western coast of South America. The mountains and high plateaus of the central Andes, especially in Bolivia and Peru, were the political and economic center of the Incan Empire. Machu Pichu is a testament to this highly developed civilization. Indigenous communities exist throughout the entire Andean region, but it is Altiplano of the central Andes that remains the heartland of the Andean indigenous peoples. The overwhelming majority of the rural population is of indigenous heritage.