Monday, March 24, 2014

Perú: Lack of Respect at Machu Picchu Deficient as Foreigners Bare it All, New Laws for Human Spoilage

According to The Peruvian Times, a very small minority of foreign visitors to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu apparently have a cultural sensitivity quotient of "minus zero," in light of several occasions whereby uncouth foreigners have concluded that it is "cool" to bare it all by photographing themselves in the nude.

Considering that Machu Picchu is a 15th Century Inca site that was voted one of the New Seven Wonders of the World in 2007, it appears that the increasing number of uncultured visitors who visit the ruins don't realize that the site is to be respected rather than being the subject of childish pranks that fortunately amuse only a small number of visitors.

Located at 2,430 meters or 7,970 feet above sea level, Machu Picchu is located in the Cusco Region, Urubamba Province,  Machupicchu District.

Machu Picchu is situated on a mountain ridge above the Sacred Valley which is 80 kilometers (50 miles) northwest of Cusco and through which the Urubamba River flows. 

Most archaeologists believe that Machu Picchu was built as an estate for the Inca emperor Pachacuti (1438–1472). Often mistakenly referred to as the "Lost City of the Incas," it is perhaps the most familiar icon of Inca civilization. 

The Incas built the estate around 1450, but abandoned it a century later at the time of the Spanish Conquest. Although known throughout Perú as a respected site, it was unknown to the outside world before being presented to the World by the US historian Hiram Bingham.

Most of the outlying buildings have been reconstructed in order to give tourists a better idea of what the structures originally looked like at the time. By 1976, 30% of Machu Picchu had been restored.

COMMENT: Since the site was not known to the Spanish during their conquest, it is highly significant as a relatively intact cultural site. Machu Picchu was declared a Peruvian Historical Sanctuary in 1981 and a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. 

Although the Peruvian stewards of Machu Picchu have endeavored to enforce a sense of respect and awe where the ruins are concerned, the ridicule and lack of decorum has forced management to develop 27 acts of conduct that are prohibited under the new regulations. What a pity!

Interestingly, those visitors of this revered site couldn't help themselves in putting their lack of respect on-line, which is exactly how the overseers of the site became aware of examples of disrespect. 

The government’s rules say that “practicing nudity and obscene acts contrary to morals and good customs” is one of 27 acts of conduct that are prohibited under the new regulations.

Recently, four US tourists were detained while posing nude for photos at Machu Picchu. Three of the tourists were in their earlier twenties, while one was in his mid-fifties.

That case followed the detention earlier in the week of four other tourists, two Canadians and two Australians, for posing nude for photo-ops.

Hopefully, the offenders were fined significantly, but I suspect not so.

On the behalf of the US, I apologize to our readers that disrespectful US citizens took human spoilage to such outrageous levels.