It was one hundred years ago when a young American Yale student Hiram Bingham, guided by locals arrived at Machu Picchu and discovered and unveiled this iconic location to the outside world. Over the years, Bingham cleared four centuries of growth, mapping and studying the site and solving some of the mysteries of this advanced civilisation.
Strings of special events are planned to celebrate the special event (putting pressure on the delicate area) from musical concerts to indigenous rituals. In one moving tribute and after considerable international pressure, a number of treasures taken by Bingham to add to his university’s collections, for further study and protection, are going to be returned to Peru to start a museum in Cusco.
Gilbert H. Grosvenor, editor National Geographic magazine, eloquently summed up the wonder of Machu Picchu when he wrote in April 1913 in an issue of the magazine dedicated to Bingham’s story and photos (one example included showing the same area as the modern photo) said “What an extraordinary people the builders of Machu Picchu must have been to have constructed, without steel implements, and using only stone hammers and wedges, the wonderful city of refuge on the mountain top.”
Indeed, Machu Picchu is one of the finest travel wonders I have ever witnessed, made special by remarkable architecture and techology for the time, the exceptional Andean mountain setting and the superb multi-day hike along the Inca Trail to first see this mysterious lost city on sunrise from an entrance that sits high above the city.
Note: Bingham’s photo is in the public domain and is one of hundreds of Bingham’s images held by the Peabody Museum, Yale University.