Thursday, April 8, 2010

Lost City of the Incas, Peru

The lost city of the Incas is Machu Picchu in the Andes Mountains of Peru. It is called "lost" because the Incas abandoned it, and the city remained unknown to explorer for several centuries.

Machu Picchu stands only 50 miles northwest of the city Cuzco. But it is perched on a narrow mountains ridge about 6,760 feet above sea level. Forests hide it from below.

This is why it stayed forgotten until the American explorer Hiram Bingham rediscovered it in 1922. Bingham found houses, temples and a hundred stariways. All were built of huge, well-fitting blocks of uncemented stone.

Bingham named the ruins Machu Picchu ("Old Peak") after a nearby mountain. But the Inca name seems to have been Vilcabamba. In 1580, the last Inca ruler of Peru may fled to Machu Picchu to escape the Spanish who had the Inca Empire.

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