08 July 2011
This week it will be 100 years since an American historian announced the discovery of Machu Picchu, the famous Incan city in Peru. Andean dances, concerts, mystic rituals and academic conferences are planned for the celebration.
Click to hear the report:
It's one of the most stunning and iconic landmarks in the world, but for Peruvians Machu Picchu is much more than an archaeological site. It's become a symbol of national identity even though its origins are still shrouded in mystery.
Some believe it may have been a refuge for an Inca ruler, others that it was a religious sanctuary. It's all part of the attraction for the nearly million tourists who visit the mountain-top citadel every year.
A hundred years ago the American historian Hiram Bingham claimed to have discovered the city high up in the Andes, hidden by dense jungle. Most experts now agree that Mr Bingham, from Yale University, was not the first to rediscover Machu Picchu. A Peruvian explorer had been there a decade earlier.
The story of its discovery may have been romanticised, yet Mr Bingham's expedition certainly made this unknown wonder of the world famous.
Thousands of artefacts which he took from these ruins are now being returned. They'll go on display in nearby Cuzco later this month. A century after Mr Bingham's visit Peruvians are happy to share this place with the world, but they're also keen to reclaim Machu Picchu as their own.
Dan Collyns, BBC News, Cuzco
Click to hear the vocabulary:
- an archaeological site
a place that is important or significant because it can teach us about people and cultures of the past
- national identity
nationality, pride in your country
- shrouded in mystery
- a refuge
a place of safety
- a religious sanctuary
an area of worship of a god or goddess
historical man-made items
- to reclaim
to take back