Concerns have been raised for the future of Peru’s ancient citadel of Machu Picchu, which is believed to be at risk from the construction of a nearby airport.

The fragile remains of the 15th-century site could “collapse”, according to Dr Gabriela Ramos, a Senior Lecturer at Cambridge University, if plans for the gateway at the Andean village of Chinchero go ahead.

Originally scheduled for development in 2013, the airport was designed to make travel to Cuzco and Machu Picchu earlier by sitting between the two locations. However, false starts delayed construction and earth wasn’t broken until January this year, Lonely Planet reported.

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Image: Willian Justen de Vasconcellos/Unsplash

Over the six years between planning and building, Machu Picchu’s popularity among tourists drastically increased to some 1.5 million in 2017. This growth has acted as a double-edged sword for Peru whereby visitor growth has benefited the economy while also placing pressure on the ancient ruins.

Now historians and experts are concerned at the “significant” impact an airport could have on the citadel, and are calling for Peru’s President to stop construction as soon as possible.

An online petition, which has received over 7,200 signatures, described the gateway as endangering the conversation of one of the “most important historical and archaeological sites in the world”.

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Image: Jeison Higuita/Unsplash

“An airport in the surroundings of the Sacred Valley will affect the integrity of a complex Inca landscape and will cause irreparable damage due to noise, traffic and uncontrolled urbanization.”

Online Petition

“We invoke the President and the government of Peru to reconsider this project.”

Meanwhile, in 2017, the Peruvian government was forced to limit the number of tourists visiting Machu Picchu at any one time in order to preserve the site’s integrity and legacy. Click here for more information.

 

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