Outrage when starting work at the new airport & # 39; Machu Picchu & # 39; which, according to historians and environmentalists, will cause irreparable damage & # 39; to landscapes rich in Inca history
- Excavators are currently clearing ground for the new airport in the city of Inca, Chinchero
- The city is considered the gateway to the Sacred Valley and near Machu Picchu
- 7,000 people have signed a petition urging the authorities to cancel the construction works
- It is feared that a new airport poses a threat to the conservation of ancient sites
Work began on a new airport that will be used by tourists visiting Machu Picchu, which will generate outrage among historians and environmentalists.
The excavators are clearing ground for the new center in Chinchero. It is located 36 miles from the famous tourist attraction, near Cusco, and is considered to be the gateway to the Sacred Valley.
The plateau of Chinchero and its surroundings are rich in Inca history and culture, and the protesters say that the project means that this "incomparable landscape will be destroyed".
Work has begun at a new airport that will take tourists directly to Machu Picchu, pictured, but has provoked outrage among historians and environmentalists.
So far, almost 7,000 people have signed an online petition urging Peruvian President Martín Vizcarra to suspend all clearing work and cancel the planned airport.
The petition was initiated on change.org by Natalia Majluf, a Peruvian art historian at the University of Cambridge.
She wrote: The airport planned in the city of Chinchero is a serious threat to the conservation of one of the most important heritage sites in the world.
The plateau of Chinchero and its surroundings are rich in Inca history and culture and the protesters say that this "incomparable landscape will be destroyed" by the airport
& # 39; In addition to affecting the integrity of a complex Inca landscape, the construction of an airport in the vicinity of the Sacred Valley will have irreparable effects due to noise, increased traffic and uncontrolled urbanization.
"We ask the president and the government of Peru to reconsider this project."
Meanwhile, an open letter signed by hundreds of historians, archaeologists and environmentalists has also been sent to President Vizcarra criticizing the construction work.
It reads: "We do not pretend to deny that Cusco, a magnet for tourists from all over the world and a driver of the country's growth, deserves to have a more adequate airport.
The city of Chinchero, where the airport is being built, is considered the gateway to the Sacred Valley (pictured)
Fortunately, the region offers other suitable areas for an efficient and modern construction capable of satisfying a greater demand of visitors.
"Leaving this project with so much conflict and changing it to look for new viable alternatives would represent a minimum loss for the State in comparison with the seriousness of the destruction of a universal heritage."
In 2012, Peruvian President Ollanta Humala announced plans to build the multi-million dollar airport in an attempt to further boost tourism in the area.
Humala also enacted a law allowing the expropriation of land in Chinchero, but promised that local residents would be compensated.
Currently, visitors to Machu Picchu must fly to the Cusco airport, which is more than 50 miles from the ruins, and then take a bus or train or follow the Inca trail to the old site.
The airport only has one airstrip and only a small narrow fuselage plane can land there. Most flights arrive from the Peruvian capital, Lima, and the Bolivian capital, La Paz.
The new Chinchero airport could accommodate larger planes flying international routes from the rest of Latin America and the United States.
Machu Picchu is a Unesco World Heritage site and currently limits the number of visitors to around 3,000 per day to reduce the environmental impact on the site.