Tourists face trial, deportation over Machu Picchu damage

Machu Picchu

The six were arrested by police on Sunday after being found by park rangers in a restricted area of the Temple of the Sun, an important site at the Inca sanctuary.

Authorities said the tourists, from Chile, Brazil, France and Argentina, snuck into the ruins and caused a rock to fall from a wall of the Temple of the Sun, damaging it.

CNN reported that Darwin Baca León, mayor of the Machupicchu District, which contains the iconic Machu Picchu site, told reporters the accused had "attacked" the local heritage.The tourists were detained and now under investigation. Authorities also discovered feces inside the ancient temple, which is around 60 miles from the Andean city of Cusco.

The Sun revealed that if they were to be found guilty, they could face around 4 years of jail time.

According to French news agency AFP, the group comprised of one French woman, two Brazilians, two Argentines and a Chilean.

The 15th-century Temple of the Sun has limited access for tourists in order to preserve the sacred and unique site.

The Temple of the Sun is said to be one of the more sacred sites at the Incan citadel of Machu Picchu, where worshippers would make offerings to the sun. In the Incan language, Machu Picchu means "Old Mountain" and was a religious center and palace built during the reign of the Incan emperor Pachacuti (1438-1471), also known as "Earthshaker".

Darwin Baca León, mayor of the Machupicchu district, which contains the iconic Machu Picchu site, told reporters after the arrests were made that the group had "attacked" the local heritage. 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.



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