First published in the 1950s, The Lost City of the Incas by Hiram Bingham is the amazing account of the impressive discovery in 1911 of the lost city of Machu Picchu. Re-published now with an introduction by Hugh Thomson, this story is as fascinating as the ancient Incas civilization itself.
Much of the wild country of the eastern Peruvian Andes was still unknown when Hiram Bingham, a pre-historian with a love for exotic destinations, set out to explore the area in search of the legendary city of Vilcabamba, capital city of the last Inca ruler, Manco Inca.
In 1911, with a combination of doggedness and good fortune, he stumbled on the perfectly preserved ruins of a magnificent Inca city perched on a cloud-capped ledge 2000 ft above the torrent of the Urumbamba River. The buildings were of exquisitely carved white granite blocks, each higher than a man. Bingham had not, as it turned out, found Vilcabamba, but he had nevertheless made one of the most astonishing discoveries of the early days of the twentieth century, and one that was to make him famous: Machu Picchu.
Spread out across a high mountain ridge, Machu Picchu had managed to survive the Spanish Conquest without being detected, preserving untouched some of the finest Inca architecture in existence. However, Bingham’s achievement did not end there. In the space of one short season he went onto discover two more Inca cities: Vitcos, where one of the last Inca Emperors was assassinated, and another settlement buried deep down the cloud-forest in the jungle.
The Lost City of the Incas, written in 1948, is a distillation of the many articles and books which he wrote on these fabulous discoveries. It includes Hiram Bingham’s original photographs.
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