A plan for an international airport that would bring hundreds of thousands more visitors to the ancient Inca city of Machu Picchu as well as possibly destroy areas of ancient culture has drawn angry responses from locals and archaeologists.
But they will have to move fast to stop it: Bulldozers are already at work clearing the land in nearby Chinchero even as companies are bidding on the construction job. At present, the nearest airport is at Cusco, a small airport that is a drive away.
Machu Picchu, which drew 1.5 million visitors in 2017, is only part of the remains of the Inca empire, once the world's largest. Many other villages and other structures are in the area, often below the surface.
“This is a built landscape; there are terraces and routes which were designed by the Incas,” says Natalia Majluf, a Peruvian art historian at Cambridge University who has organised a petition against the new airport. “Putting an airport here would destroy it.”
Photo: land being cleared for new airport.