July 7, 2011 § 1 Comment
This month has been one of celebration in Peru, it was 100 years ago that Machu Picchu was rediscovered and brought to the worlds attention. Machu Picchu is a 15th century Incan city created of stone structures built in the Andes Mountains of Peru. The Incans had abandoned the site prior to the arrival of the Spanish and the site was never discovered during colonial times.
In the early 1900’s Hiram Bingham had traveled to Chile as a delegate to the first Pan American Scientific Conference. On his way home a local prefect convinced him to stop and visit the pre-Columbian city of Choquequirao. Bingham was inspired with the idea of finding other undiscovered Incan cities, and returned to Peru in 1911 with the Yale Peruvian Expedion and was led by local guide Melchor Arteaga to Machu Picchu, a site which was forgotten by all but local people.
Bingham would return to Machu Picchu in 1912 and 1915 with the support of Yale and the National Geographic Society. His “discovery” enchanted the world. Bingham would late become the basis for the character “Indiana Jones”.
Today Machu Picchu is a UNESCO world hertiage site, one of the 7 Wonders of the New World, and one of the most revered archaeological sites in the world. To celebrate the rediscovery Peru has set aside a month of celebration including the redesign of the 10 sole note which now features Machu Picchu on the reverse side.
Over a million people visit Machu Picchu each year, in an effort to showcase the need for conservation the citadel is closed today except for a select 700 visitors .