6 tourists arrested after feces found at sacred Peru temple

Elias Hubbard
January 15, 2020

The Incan Empire ruled vast tracts of the Andes Mountains in northern and western South America-stretching from Ecuador in the north to Chile in the south.

In 2017, the government imposed limitations on how many tourists are allowed to visit the site for fear that Machu Picchu was being loved to death; around 1.5 million tourists were visiting the UNESCO World Heritage Site every year, causing damage to the structures and the surrounding area.

Several areas of the semicircular Temple of the Sun are said to be off-limits to visitors, the AFP reported.

"The six tourists are being detained and investigated by the public ministry for the alleged crime against cultural heritage", said Wilbert Leyva, the Cusco regional police chief, according to a local news outlet cited by the AFP. Authorities also discovered feces inside the ancient temple, which is around 60 miles from the Andean city of Cusco.

The sanctuary is partially limited for tourist access, reportedly for preservation reasons. When the site was an Inca citadel, the Temple of the Sun would have been used to make offerings to the sun god - the civilization's most important deity.

Nahuel remains in Machu Picchu where he was due to face a court hearing on Tuesday afternoon, while the other five - another Argentine, two Brazilians, a Chilean and a French woman - "will be deported", said Patino.

Nahuel, 28, faces at least four years in prison if found guilty of damaging Peru's cultural heritage.

Machu Picchu, which means "old mountain" in the Quechua language indigenous to the area, is at the top of a lush mountain and was built during the reign of the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438-1471). It was rediscovered in 1911 by American explorer Hiram Bingham, and since then has gone from obscurity to one of the world's best known tourist attractions.

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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