Machu Picchu will have limited tourist access

Peru: The Peruvian authorities will limit the access of tourists to two temples and a pyramid of the Inca city of Machu Picchu to prevent further degradation, the government said recently. These restrictions will initially apply from May 15 to May 28 and concern the Temple of the Sun, the Condor Temple and the Intiwatana Pyramid, according to the Ministry of Culture.

Some 6,000 tourists, divided into two towers, can visit every day the famous citadel of stone built in the fifteenth century on the eastern slopes of the Andes. According to the restrictions announced recently, they will have three hours maximum to visit the three monuments concerned.

"These measures respond to the need to preserve Machu Picchu because there is a wear of the stone surface because of the passage of visitors to the three sectors mentioned," said the ministry. "It's a pilot experience" aimed at preserving cultural heritage while facilitating visits to tourists, "said the head of the Machu Picchu Archaeological Park José Bastante. If the results are convincing, the restrictions could be perpetuated as of June 1st.

The city of Machu Picchu, which means "Old Mountain" in the Quechua language, was built under the reign of Emperor Pachacutec (1438-1471). Discovered by the American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911 and World Heritage by UNESCO since 1983, the city is located a hundred kilometres from Cuzco, the former capital of the Inca Empire in southeastern Peru.

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