Peru's Machu Picchu: Why is July so significant for the Inca citadel?

08:50 | Lima, Jul. 1.

July is a particularly important month for the Historic Sanctuary and Archaeological Park of Machu Picchu —Peru's biggest attraction— which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the New Seven Wonders of the World.

Now that visits to the Inca citadel are increasing as part of the efforts to revive the tourism sector and after it received the Safe Travels stamp that recognizes it as a safe destination amid the COVID-19 pandemic, it is crucial to note the importance of July in the festive calendar of Machu Picchu.

Hiram Bingham

On July 24, 110 years will have passed since the arrival of U.S. explorer Hiram Bingham in this impressive stone city nestled atop a mountain ridge in the jungle of Cusco.

Although the first direct references to the discovery of Machu Picchu date back to 1902, when a group of locals visited the Inca structure vestiges, it was Bingham who —sponsored by Yale University and the National Geographic Society— initiated the scientific study of the last capital of the Incas in 1911 and made it known to the outside world.

World Heritage Site

With the passage of time and greater awareness of its importance as an Inca religious, ceremonial, astronomical, and agricultural center, Machu Picchu was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO on December 9, 1983.

Impressive biodiversity

The National Sanctuary of Machu Picchu has an impressive Andean and Amazonian biodiversity. It is home to 384 species of trees, 468 of orchids, 279 of ferns, 443 of birds, 84 of mammals, 22 of reptiles, and 17 of amphibians.

New Wonder of the World

Additionally, July 7 marks the 14th anniversary of the day Machu Picchu was named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.

The Inca Empire's most representative construction was crowned on 7 July 2007 along with the Great Wall of China, the Taj Mahal in India, Petra city in southern Jordan, the Roman Coliseum, Christ the Redeemer in Rio, and the Maya Chichen Itza archaeological site in Mexico.

Safe Travels Stamp and Carbon Neutral Initiative

In October 2020, Machu Picchu was one of the first destinations to get a 'Safe Travels' stamp from the World Travel & Tourism Council (WTTC).

Additionally, the Inca citadel has developed a Carbon Neutral initiative aimed at turning the area into the first tourist destination to reduce carbon dioxide emissions and manage solid waste.

Visitor capacity

On the other hand, the visitor capacity for Machu Picchu has increased over the past weeks. According to the Ministry of Culture, the Inca citadel receives between 1,000 and 1,200 visitors a day.

However, the number of visits is expected to increase gradually as the Government has issued a decree that stipulates that capacity restrictions will no longer apply for museums and archaeological sites, as they are open-air venues. 

Machu Picchu Brand

In addition, the Machu Picchu Brand will be launched on July 7, on the occasion of the 14th anniversary of the day the Inca citadel was named one of the New 7 Wonders of the World.

According to Mayor Darwin Baca, this brand is intended to generate economic dynamism through the promotion of archaeological, cultural, and natural tourist attractions in Machu Picchu.

World Travel Awards

Finally, the ancient citadel is competing to be South America's Leading Tourist Attraction, an award it has obtained for the last three years in a row (2018, 2019, and 2020) in the regional edition of the World Travel Awards. People will be able to vote in support of its nomination until July 26.


Published: 7/1/2021
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