The lost capital of the Incas, deep in the jungles of central Peru, has been discovered after a hundred-year search.
The lost capital of the Incas, deep in the jungles of central Peru, has been discovered after a hundred-year search. The city, Vilcabamba, was finally unearthed in July by a Polish-Peruvian expedition on mule and on foot, through some of the most inhospitable jungle int he world. Film of the discovery, by a Visnews television cameraman who was on the expedition, has been brought back to civilisation.
SYNOPSIS: The general area of Vilcabamba has been known for two centuries. Serious attempts to find it began a hundred years ago, spurred on by legends of enormous gold and silver treasures buried by the last of the Incas - of the Spanish conquerors. Vilcabamba, where they made their last stand, was finally over-run in 1572. It signalled the end of their civilisation, and in the following centuries the city was overgrown by dense jungle. But in 1911, it seemed that the search for Vilcabamba was over. A student from the United States, Hiram Bingham, announced he'd found it. The ruins he discovered were believed to be Vilcabamba, a theory he stuck to as late as the 1950s, when he published book 'The Lost City of the Incas'. But later historians decided he'd found a different set of ruins -- and the search for the real capital went on.
The successful discoverers are Professor Dr. Edmundo Guillen, a leading Peruvian historian, and Mrs. Elizabeth Dzikowska, a Polish historian and scientist. Visnews cameraman Tony Halik was with them on the expedition which Professor Guillen began planning 10 years ago. On July the 22nd, the expedition found stones, walls, artifacts and other evidence -- and the search for Vilcabamba was declared over.
The city where the ancient water supplies are still fresh and clean, was situated in a valley about four miles across by two miles wide (6.4 by 3.2 kilometres) int he uninhabited central jungle area a thousand miles (1,600 kilometres) south-east of the capital, Lima. The crude stone walls of hundreds of major buildings were almost certainly once covered in gold and silver decor, for which the Incas were renowned. There were more than 400 temples and palaces alone. But unlike earlier Inca cities famous for their stonemasonry, the buildings of Vilcabamba were mainly cruder fieldstone, set in clay. This was the last stand of the Incas -- and harassed by the Spaniards, they probably had neither the time nor manpower left to quarry better stone for their usual elegant masonry. However, there are still traces of sophisticated ceramic stucco on many of the ruined walls, suggesting that their highly-developed artistic skills were practised to their dying days. Now, four centuries later, Polish and Peruvian flags flutter over the ruins of the once-proud city. It still has many secrets to offer up -- which may yet take decades to fully excavate.
Even the all-embracing and bitterly hostile tropical jungle of South America, able to swallow up whole cities, cannot conquer man's curiosity about his ancestors.