Machu Picchu, an incredible story
Machu Picchu laid forgotten by time and the rest of humanity, the jungle slowly reclaimed what the Inca did. At around 1908, an American academic named Hiram Bingham III was in Santiago, Chile to attend the First Pan American Scientific Congress. On his way home back to the United Stated, he passed by Peru where he visited the pre-Columbain city of Choquequirao. Filled with the thrill of exploring lost cities, Bingham went back to Peru this time as the leader of the Yale Peruvian Expedition of 1911. Led by a local named Melchor Arteaga, Bingham III became the first foreigner ever to set eyes on the forgotten city of Machu Picchu.
However, it was not until Bingham’s next visit Machu Picchu when the whole world finally discovered the glory of the lost city. In 1912 and 1915, Bingham led a team that was supported by Yale University and the National Geographic Society. The 1913 the entire issue of National Geographic solely focused on the Incan city which led to Machu Picchu becoming South Americas first major tourist attraction.
A national park that was established to protect Machu Picchu and the rich flora and fauna of the surrounding area was declared in 1971. The site was declared a Historical Sanctuary of Peru and was declared with an area of almost 326 square kilometres. In 1983, Machu Picchu was included in the list of World Heritage Sites for the reason of it being “an absolute masterpiece of achievement and a unique testimony to the Inca civilization”.
In 2008, recognizing the precarious state of this unique heritage site, the World Monuments Fund placed Machu Picchu in the 2008 Watch List of the 100 Most Endangered Sites. Because of the impacts of tourism and the rapid development of the town of Aquas Calientes which serve as jump-off point for tourists heading to the Lost City, the action of the World Monuments Fund is but an initial step in reversing what could be the start of an irreversible decline of a site that is so grand yet so delicate.
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