1911 - Imagine how amazing it must be to find an ancient abandoned city at the top of a mountain in Peru. American explorer Hiram Bingham did exactly that, today in 1911. He found Machu Picchu, a magical place that is now visited by hundreds of thousands people a year.
Bingham was a professor at Yale University and visited Peru to study the live of Simón Bolívar. However, he became interested more in the Incas. Most of their cities turned out to be ruined by the Spanish conquistadors, who ravaged Incan territory. Machu Picchu was well-preserved, so the conquistadors had probably never found this ‘Sacred City’.
In 1913 Bingham publishes his story in the National Geographic Magazine. He described his first glance: ‘The superior character of the stone work, the presence of these splendid edifices, and of what appeared to be an unusually large number of finely constructed stone dwellings, led me to believe that Machu Picchu might prove to be the largest and most important ruin discovered in South America since the days of the Spanish conquest.’
360 trivial fact
A local peasant, too fond of ‘fire-water’, showed Bingham the way to Machu Picchu: ‘He offered to show me the ruins, which he had once visited, if I would pay him well for his services. His idea of proper payment was 50 cents for his day's labor. This did not seem unreasonable, although it was two and one-half times his usual day's wage…’
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