Although it was built in 1400s, Machu Picchu was unknown to the rest of the world until 1911, when Yale University professor Hiram Bingham III “discovered” it with the help of 11 year old boy and old travel journals. It is true that Bingham was a well positioned scholar who studied Machu Picchu with a systematic approach and because of him Machu Picchu is known in the entire world. Another truth though, is that he wasn’t the real discoverer of Machu Picchu.
In the 1902, Agustín Lizárraga with his cousin, Enrique Palma Ruíz found an amazing and breathtaking site. He was aware of his discovery and left an inscription in the temple of the three windows, that said: Agustín Lizárraga, July 14th 1902. Director of the National Archaeological Park of Machu Picchu, Fernando Astete Victoria confirmed this: “In releasing this inscription we intend to inform the community, local, national and international that there were people who came before, than the American researcher, to Machu Picchu, but Bigham was the first scientist whose studies were conducted thoroughly in 1912 with the support of Yale University and the National Geographic.”
When Bingham and his team finally started uncovering the site in 1912, its wealth and history were no longer a secret. Archaeologists found that the site had three distinct areas: religious, agricultural, and urban. Many of them believed that Machu Picchu was constructed as a royal estate because of the presence of elite residences in the northeast sector.
This intricate and carefully planed complex was very expensive and ambitious project built at the height of the Inca Empire, but it was in use for less than 100 years- around the time Spaniards launched Peru conquest (XVI century). While the Spanish plundered many other Incan sites, this one remained hidden. Over the course of centuries, much of it was veiled in secret with the help of tall grass and high jungle forest.
In this infographic, I unveil some of the most interesting Machu Picchu facts:
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