The Peruvian authorities have restricted access to its iconic Machu Picchu site after high levels of international tourism badly damaged areas of the ancient attraction popular with British backpackers.
Following a series of studies looking into the condition of the 15th-century ruins, the Ministry of Culture decided to restrict visitor access from 15th to 28th May.
Tourists visiting the southern Peruvian landmark will now have a limited timeframe in which to see the Inca site’s Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Condor and Intihuatana Pyramid.
The Ministry of Culture said in a statement: “The measures are in response to the need of preserving Machu Picchu. Surface erosion cause by visitors has been registered in those three sectors.”
According to reports, around 6,000 tourists used to visit the Incan citadel in two shifts every day, but under the new proposal, visitors will only have three hours to see everything.
Machu Picchu official Jose Bastante told local media: “This is a pilot programme designed to preserve the area’s cultural heritage and help visitors enjoy a pleasant tourist experience.
After the two-week restricted run, the authorities will evaluate how it worked out and decide whether further measures are needed to be put in place by 1st June, according to reports.
Founded in 1450, Machu Picchu was built by the Inca emperor Pachacutec.
It was found in 1911 by the US explorer Hiram Bingham, and UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site in 1983.