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Machu Picchu abandoned 1572: Naked tourists still a problem for historic site

Machu Picchu was abandoned in 1572 but Peruvian cultural and tourism authorities are desperately trying to put an end to what looks like the birth of a new fad: posing naked in Machu Picchu, the crown jewel of the national heritage. On Friday, four Americans were arrested inside the archaeological complex for taking photos without clothes, the Peruvian Times reported on March 17.

Although not considered a crime, the Ministry of Culture has condemned this practice through a press release, which notes that such attitudes "only seek prominence, subjecting decency, respect and dignity." It also ensured that in recent months officials have stepped up surveillance on Machu Picchu to control nudists.

Despite efforts by Peruvian authorities to stop tourists from baring it all at the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, they have yet to find an effective solution to the problem.

"International tourists that bear it all for a picture at Machu Picchu caught local and global media attention over the last few weeks when pictures of the naked tourists were posted online. Authorities in Cusco have taken the issue seriously, saying that the growing trend is an attack on decency and threatens Peru’s cultural heritage," Peruvian Times reports.

Machu Picchu is a historic 15th-century Inca site located in Peru that was abandoned in 1572 and it is situated on a mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley which is 50 miles northwest of Cusco and through which the Urubamba River flows, Wikipedia writes. Many Machu Picchu historians speculate that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti, (1438–1472). The site is commonly referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas", and it is recognized as the most familiar icon of Inca civilization.

Machu Picchu was constructed by the Incas around 1450, but it was abandoned a century later largely due to the Spanish Conquest. Before it gained worldwide attention in 1911 thanks to Ayinmerican historian Hiram Bingham, it was relatively unknown to the rest of the world.

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After receiving global attention, Machu Picchu quickly became a major tourist attraction. Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed in order to give tourists a better idea of what the structures originally looked like.

Machu Picchu is considered both a masterpiece of architecture and engineering. Its unique architectural and landscape features, and the veil of mystery that has surrounded much of the literature published on the site, have become one of the most popular tourist destinations on the planet.

Machu Picchu is on the List of World Heritage of Unesco since 1983, as part of a cultural and ecological set known under the name Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu. On July 7, 2007, Machu Picchu was declared one of the new seven wonders of the modern world in a ceremony in Lisbon, Portugal, which was attended by a hundred million people worldwide.

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