For years I have wanted to visit Peru. I don’t even remember the first time I saw a photo of Machu Picchu, but it has been ingrained in my mind as one of the places to go for as long as I can remember. It’s a rather rugged trip, not for everyone, especially the way that I have chosen to take it. I have lived with a fear that this trek was actually time sensitive having heard rumors of the Peruvian government limiting the site’s visitors because of the sheer volume of traffic it experiences. As it stands, the Inca Trail, the most popular of the paths to the site of Machu Picchu has limited its number to a mere 500 hikers per day and is booked until well into October of this year.
|Start of the Inca Trail|
But, you can’t visit Peru without visiting Machu Picchu…especially this year, the 100th anniversary of its “discovery.” (*Thank you to Mr. Beothy for letting me know!)
It’s amazing what even a teacher can learn when doing a little research and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being thrilled at the story I uncovered when investigating the history behind the man who is credited with making Machu Picchu public in 1911 and later publishing his discovery in National Geographic Magazine. So, here it is in a nutshell…
Stories like that of Manchu Picchu, the most famous icon of the Inca world, are romantic to say the least. Its name in Quechua, the native language of the area, means “old peak” and the site dates back to the 15th century. Located in the Andes about 50 miles northwest of the major Peruvian city of Cuzco at close to 8,000 feet above sea level, it is most widely thought to have been an ancient estate for the Incan emperor Pachacuti. Machu Picchu was abandoned a mere 100 years after reaching its height, potentially due to a smallpox epidemic when the Spanish arrived. Locals knew of its existence for hundreds of years, but it wasn’t until an American archaeologist named Hiram Bingham arrived in the early 1900’s that Machu Picchu was revealed to the rest of the world as the “Lost City of the Incas”. So important was this discovery that National Geographic Magazine devoted its entire April 1913 issue to it.
|April 1913 Edition|
|Hiram Bingham III|
|Machu Picchu prior to its excavation.|
Here's where it gets really good, at least for me…Supposedly, Hiram Bingham III was the inspiration behind…
|Clearly, we have a theme here...|
Wow!!!! Further investigation is definitely needed. J
If intrigued by the history of Machu Picchu, Hiram Bingham III, and/or Indiana Jones, you might enjoy the following: