Choquequirao is a truly “lost city,” abandoned around 1572 when the last Inca ruler, Tupac Amaru, was captured in the distant jungles, dragged back to Cusco and executed by Spanish colonial authorities.
Choquequirao’s ancient houses, temples, canals and walls were soon reclaimed by the silent, green, primeval forest only to be rediscovered and revealed in recent times. Located on the unpopulated side of the immense Apurimac Canyon, the region has remained disconnected from the farms, villages and roads.
In this account from Peruvian Times, archaeologist Gary Ziegler writes:
It is little known that Yale professor Hiram Bingham, the now famous scientific discoverer of Machu Picchu in 1911 was inspired to launch his return to Peru and archaeological explorations after a visit to Choquequirao in 1909. Bingham visited Choquequirao twice, the second time with a crew of surveyors, cartographers and specialists to produce the first map and scientific description.
Like many other Incan sites, Choquequiarao appears to have been carefully designed according to astronomical alignment with sacred rivers, mountains and celestial movements.