Lime — Peru ordered on Wednesday the closure for three days of the main hiking route that leads to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, the tourist jewel of the South American country, while part of that path is rehabilitated after falling stones and after controlling a nearby forest fire.
The Civil Defense indicated in a statement that the incident — which began on Monday and destroyed 20 hectares of vegetation cover — occurred in areas near the “Inca Trail” and was controlled by firefighters during the day.
The Ministry of Culture ordered that cleaning work be carried out until Friday on the walking route, which is 24 miles, to avoid possible dangers to tourists.
While the closure of the famous walking route lasts, Ministry of Culture workers will rehabilitate the areas where stones fell and visitors will be able to use another shorter route that also allows them to reach Machu Picchu on foot.
The “Inca Trail” is traveled on foot by tourists in approximately four days and three nights. It has areas where the altitude reaches 4,200 meters, which challenges the physical resistance of visitors.
According to archaeologists, the “Inca Trail” is a small part of the road network of the Inca empire, which covered parts of Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile.
To get to Machu Picchu, most international tourists use a train that connects the city of Cusco with the famous archaeological site, located in the Amazon, for more than 43 miles.
The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century as a religious sanctuary of the Incas and is located in the Amazon of southeastern Peru at an altitude of 2,490 meters.