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Machu Picchu



Machu Picchu
Reading Level
     edHelper's suggested reading level:   grades 9 to 11
     Flesch-Kincaid grade level:   10.13

Vocabulary
     challenging words:    must-go, citadel, bestseller, prestigious, dialogue, safeguard, manpower, evasive, relatively, peril, existence, significant, immense, temples, archaeological, emperor
     content words:    Yale University Professor Hiram Bingham, Machu Picchu, Professor Bingham, Melchor Arteaga, Andes Mountains, When Professor Bingham, Lost City, South America, Wayna Picchu, Huayna Picchu


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Machu Picchu
By Vickie Chao
  

1     July 24, 1911, might have been an ordinary day for most people. But it was definitely not so for Yale University Professor Hiram Bingham because it was on that day that he "discovered" Machu Picchu -- the lost city of the Incas. Technically speaking, Machu Picchu was not a big secret to the locals, and Professor Bingham did not really "discover" it all by himself. Truth be told, he was accompanied by a farmer named Melchor Arteaga who knew his way around the Andes Mountains. After trekking for nearly a day, the two finally reached the mountaintop of Machu Picchu. When Professor Bingham saw the Inca ruin before him, he knew that he had just stumbled upon something very important. Though he was certainly not the first person in modern history to actually find it, he was indeed the first outsider who visited it. After he came back, he wrote a bestselling book titled The Lost City of the Incas and introduced Machu Picchu to the rest of the world. From that point on, this once elusive site has simply become one of the most popular tourist destinations in South America!
 
2     So, what exactly is Machu Picchu? And why is it significant?
 
3     In the local dialogue, "Machu Picchu" means "Old Peak." Between itself and Wayna Picchu (or Huayna Picchu, meaning "New Peak") lies a narrow strip of land. Around 1440, the Inca emperor Pachacuti came across this saddle of land and decided to build a small town there. After the Spaniards conquered the Inca Empire in 1532, however, all visits to the village stopped. Since the new masters had absolutely no clue about its existence, Machu Picchu was able to remain relatively intact for more than 400 years.

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