Visits to certain parts of the famous Inca citadel of Machu Picchu have been suspended due to erosion which is weakening stone structures, Peru's Ministry of Culture announced Thursday, September 28.
Visits to the Temple of the Condor and the Temple of the Sun, as well as the “Intihuatana,” a carved stone structure sacred to the Incas, are “temporarily closed to visitors,” said Maritza Rosa Candia, a ministry delegate in the city of Cusco. The high number of visitors is causing the deterioration of the stone structures in these three emblematic sectors of the citadel, hence the need to close them for maintenance, she said, because "the damage is irreversible" and "we must protect our heritage.
The citadel, Peru's main tourist attraction visited daily by 3,800 people, was built in the 15th century at an altitude of 2,500 meters on the orders of the Inca ruler Pachacutec. It is considered a marvel of architecture and engineering and was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981.