It’s one of South America’s most iconic landmarks. Hundreds of thousands of people flock from around the world to wonder in its awesome setting. Since 1996, every Quest Overseas South America expedition team has made it their finale to a mind blowing adventure – but not this year, because it’s shut!
The sacred Inca city of Machu Picchu is, for the first time in its history, being closed to the public for the next six months. Until October 1st 2011, the ruins are undergoing a huge reconstruction, while the Peruvian National Institute of Culture (INC) attempts to recreate this location into a working city as they believed it was back in the time of the Incas. Buildings are being restored, roofs are being re-thatched, even the terraces are being re-cultivated.
“We have been keeping this project under tight wraps for some time now” said INC director Oswaldo Sassone, “as we have wanted it to coincide with the hundred year anniversary of its discovery by Hiram Bingham. We are very excited about this project and are confident that it will make for an even more memorable experience for for many visitors which come to our country.”
“To add to the authenticity, we are inviting families from the local communities to apply to become Machu Picchu residents. the city will have a population of 1,200 people all living in the traditional manner that would have been enjoyed back in the days of the Incas.”
So what about all the visitors which have already planned their trip to Peru this year? Well the Inca Trail will still be open, as will the train to Aguas Calientes, the village close to Machu Picchu. But rather than being able to visit the ruins themselves, they have created a temporary model of the city in a nearby hotel, which local guides will be able to talk visitors through the history of the city while they enjoy an overpriced pisco sour – not quite the same!