Built in the fifteenth century Machu Picchu was abandoned when the Inca Empire was conquered by the Spaniards in the sixteenth century. It was not until that the archaeological complex was made known to the outside world. The approximately structures making up this outstanding religious, ceremonial, astronomical and agricultural centre are set on a steep ridge, crisscrossed by stone terraces. Following a rigorous plan the city is divided into a lower and upper part, separating the farming from residential areas, with a large square between the two. The massive yet refined architecture of Machu Picchu blends exceptionally well with the stunning natural environment, with which it is intricately linked.
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Built in the fifteenth century Machu Picchu was abandoned when the Inca Empire was conquered by the Spaniards in the sixteenth century. It was not until that the archaeological complex was made known to the outside world. The approximately structures making up this outstanding religious, ceremonial, astronomical and agricultural centre are set on a steep ridge, crisscrossed by stone terraces.
Following a rigorous plan the city is divided into a lower and upper part, separating the farming from residential areas, with a large square between the two. The massive yet refined architecture of Machu Picchu blends exceptionally well with the stunning natural environment, with which it is intricately linked.
Numerous subsidiary centres, an extensive road and trail system, irrigation canals and agricultural terraces bear witness to longstanding, often on-going human use. The rugged topography making some areas difficult to access has resulted in a mosaic of used areas and diverse natural habitats. Despite its small size the property contributes to conserving a very rich habitat and species diversity with remarkable endemic and relict flora and fauna.
Criterion i : The Inca City of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is the articulating centre of its surroundings, a masterpiece of art, urbanism, architecture and engineering of the Inca Civilization. The working of the mountain, at the foot of the Huaya Picchu, is the exceptional result of integration with its environment, the result from a gigantic effort as if it were an extension of nature. Criterion iii :The Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu is a unique testimony of the Inca Civilization and shows a well-planned distribution of functions within space, territory control, and social, productive, religious and administrative organization.
Criterion vii : The historic monuments and features in the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu are embedded within a dramatic mountain landscape of exceptional scenic and geomorphological beauty thereby providing an outstanding example of a longstanding harmonious and aesthetically stunning relationship between human culture and nature.
Criterion ix : Covering part of the transition between the High Andes and the Amazon Basin the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu shelters a remarkably diverse array of microclimates, habitats and species of flora and fauna with a high degree of endemism.
The property is part of a larger area unanimously considered of global significance for biodiversity conservation. Integrity The Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu meets the conditions of integrity, as the natural and human-made attributes and values that sustain its Outstanding Universal value are mostly contained within its boundaries. The visual ensemble linking the main archaeological site of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu with its striking mountain environment remains mostly intact.
It is desirable to extend the property to encompass an even broader spectrum of human-land relationships, additional cultural sites, such as Pisac and Ollantaytambo in the Sacred Valley, and a larger part of the Urubamba watershed would contribute to strengthening the overall integrity. In particular, the value for the conservation of the many rare and endemic species of flora and fauna would benefit from the inclusion or a stronger management consideration of the adjacent lands.
A considerable number of well-documented threats render the property vulnerable to losing its future integrity and will require permanent management attention. Authenticity Upon the abandonment of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu at the beginning of the sixteenth century, vegetation growth and isolation ensured the conservation of the architectural attributes of the property.
Although the design, materials and structures have suffered slight changes due to the decay of the fabric, the conditions of authenticity have not changed. The rediscovery in , and subsequent archaeological excavations and conservation interventions have followed practices and international standards that have maintained the attributes of the property. The boundaries of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu are clearly defined and the protected area is surrounded by a buffer zone exceeding the size of the property.
The Management Unit of the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu UGM was established in to lead the strategies contained in the Master Plans, which are the regularly updated governing documents for the management of the property. Notwithstanding the adequate legislative and formal management framework, there are important challenges to the inter-institutional governance and the effectiveness of management and protection of the property. The dispersed legislation would benefit from further harmonization and despite existing efforts the involvement of various ministries and governmental levels ranging from local to national remains a complex task, including in light of the sharing of the significant tourism revenues.
Tourism itself represents a double-edged sword by providing economic benefits but also by resulting in major cultural and ecological impacts.
The strongly increasing number of visitors to the Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu must be matched by an adequate management regulating access, diversifying the offer and efforts to fully understand and minimize impacts.
A larger appropriate and increasing share of the significant tourism revenues could be re-invested in planning and management. The planning and organization of transportation and infrastructure construction, as well as the sanitary and safety conditions for both tourists and new residents attracted by tourism requires the creation of high quality and new long-term solutions, and is a significant ongoing concern.
Since the time of inscription consistent concerns have been expressed about ecosystem degradation through logging, firewood and commercial plant collection, poor waste management, poaching, agricultural encroachment in the absence of clear land tenure arrangements, introduced species and water pollution from both urban waste and agro-chemicals in the Urubamba River, in addition from pressures derived from broader development in the region.
It is important to remember that the overall risks are aggravated by the location in a high altitude with extreme topography and weather conditions and thus susceptibility to natural disasters.
Continuous efforts are needed to comply with protected areas and other legislation and plans and prevent further degradation. There is also great potential for restoring degraded areas.
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