World heritage Machu Picchu reopens after 8 months

2020-11-02 16:40:38 GMT2020-11-03 00:40:38(Beijing Time) Sina English

The opening ceremony for the archeological site of Machu Picchu is held in Cusco, Peru on Sunday, after a nearly eight-month lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, the crown jewel of Peru’s tourist sites, reopened on Sunday with an ancient ritual after a nearly eight-month lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic.

For safety reasons, however, only 675 tourists will be able to access the site per day, just 30 percent of the number of visitors pre-pandemic.

Under a fine drizzle and multicolored lights, an Inca ritual was held Sunday evening to thank the gods for the citadel’s reopening.

“Today, Machu Picchu opens. It opens with (health and safety) protocols, it opens to say that we are reactivating ourselves but with responsibility and great prudence, because we see everything happening in the world with the pandemic,” Foreign Trade and Tourism Minister Rocio Barrios said in a speech.

The first train of tourists had arrived Sunday morning at Machu Picchu Pueblo, the village closest to the citadel, after a 90-minute journey along the Urubamba River from the ancient Inca village of Ollantaytambo.

Opening Machu Picchu to the world shows “that we Peruvians are resilient,” Barrios said.

The number of coronavirus cases has been steadily decreasing in Peru, and tourists will be expected to maintain social distancing.

The coronavirus lockdown has been a blow to the tens of thousands of people who make their living from the country’s tourism industry, especially those in the mountainous Cusco region where the stone citadel is located.

Scores of hotels, restaurants and tourism-related businesses throughout the region went bankrupt by the time a strict mandatory virus lockdown that lasted more than 100 days was lifted in July.

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