It’s true: a whole century has passed since Hiram Bingham re-discovered Machu Picchu, and Peru will be celebrating with typical enthusiasm. In the words of one government official, Culture Minister Juan Ossio has said “Celebrations must be over the top.”
It was in 1911 when the Yale scholar Hiram Bingham first happened upon the ruins, led by locals to the site, which he went on to uncover, explore and reveal to the outside world.
And the world loved it: imaginations were captivated, and the Inca ruin is now surely one of the planet’s most recognizable images. It inspires many a person to travel to Peru.
So, it being a hundred years since these ruins were uncovered, and with enthusiasm such as Ossio’s, there are a number of events being planned to mark the event.
The main event will be a full-blown ceremony at the ruins themselves on 7th of July, with notable figures such as Nobel laureate Mario Vargas Llosa attending.
Also to attend are members of Hiram Bingham’s family, the heads of state of those 6 other countries where the new seven wonders of the world are situated, and current Peruvian president Alan Garcia, though the election for his predecessor will take place in April.
The event is expected to burst into life with a light show accompanied by sound and music reflecting the indigenous ritual of making offerings to Pachamama (Andean mother earth). People from across the globe are expected to tune in to the event which will be broadcast live via satellite.
Over Easter time, Peruvian singer Juan Diego Flores will sing at the ruins in a special performance for both national and foreign journalists in order to promote Machu Picchu internationally. Flores is a top tenor, and he might even be joined by other artists for the concert, which is expected to be held in early April.
There are a great deal more tourists than usual expected to travel to Machu Picchu this year. Government press agency Andina have suggested could be as high as a 25% increase, and hotel occupancy at about 80%. A number of travel agencies have put together their own celebrations, with special trips and deals being thrown around left right and centre.
Rather timely, Peru is also celebrating the return of Artifacts from Machu Picchu which Hiram Bingham had transported back to Yale’s collection. Earlier in the year Yale finally succumbed to international pressure and sustained attacks from the Peruvian government and the pieces are finally on their way back to Peru in time for the country’s most famous icon’s 100th birthday.