Machu Picchu Rediscovery; 100th Anniversary

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Karel Navarro / AP

Machu Picchu was rediscovered 100 years ago by explorer Hiram Bingham. Gagling said it best; “it was one of the greatest archaeological finds of the 20th century.”

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Karel Navarro / AP

National Geographic celebrates the anniversary with a website dedicated to the world wonder.

The website includes pictures, a quiz, top ten secrets of Machu Picchu (did you know it’s not actually the Lost City of the Inca?), best books about Machu Picchu like Last Days of the Incas by Kim MacQuarrie and Machu Picchu routes.

The Incas built Machu Picchu atop an Andean peak 7,970 feet high and some experts believe it was a refuge for one or more Inca rulers, while others that it was a religious sanctuary, reported the Associated Press.

The rediscovery was the find of a Peruvian Expedition in 1912, under the Auspices of Yale University and National Geographic Society.

Once an extra exclusive and hard-to-reach place, Machu Picchu is now a tourist hotspot. Today, the famed site receives almost 2,000 visitors a day and now the former farming village of Aguas Calientes is reportedly used as a jumping-off point for tourists with five-star hotels and restaurants.

National Geographic isn’t the only one celebrating. To celebrate the 100th anniversary the L.A. Times created a countdown; 100 facts of Machu Picchu.  Facts include, 95. Most of the buildings at Machu Picchu had thatched roofs once, but time and weather ate those away and  94. It’s unclear how these heavy stones were moved to Machu Picchu nor is it known how the stone cutters worked with such precision. That is part of the wonder.