Tourists to be deported over alleged damage, defecation at Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is the most iconic site from the Inca empire that ruled much of western South America in the 15th and 16th centuries

Machu Picchu is the most iconic site from the Inca empire that ruled much of western South America in the 15th and 16th centuries

According to France 24, the tourists from Argentina, Chile, France and Brazil entered a restricted area of Temple of the Sun, a sacred temple at the iconic Machu Picchu sanctuary.

A sixth was released from custody and ordered to remain in Machu Picchu pending trial after paying bail of $910.

Since 1911 Machu Picchu has gone from obscurity to over a million annual visitors. The tourists were found by the park rangers and police on Sunday.

"We're going to take them by road to the city of Desaguadero, on the border with Bolivia".

Machu Picchu is situated in the southern region of Cusco and named a Unesco World Heritage Site in 1983.

Now only 12,000 people are able to travel up the Sacred Valley to Old Mountain every day, and some of the more vulnerable areas have been closed to free-venturing individuals in order to ensure the stately citadel endures for another 600 years.

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The Temple of Sun was used to pay tribute to the sun, considered the creator of all things and the most important deity in the Inca empire. The tourists now face at least a four-year jail term if found guilty of damaging the nation's cultural heritage.

A representative for Peru's Ministry of Culture was not immediately available to confirm if the group, which consisted of a tourist from France, two from Brazil, two from Argentina and one from Chile, was now being detained as of Tuesday.

As well as the material damage, the Regional Direction of Culture in Cusco reported that faecal matter was found at the temple, which is being investigated as evidence the tourists defecated on the site.

A source with the public prosecutor's office told AFP that Nahuel admitted to the damage but said "it wasn't intentional, he only leant against the wall".

Machu Picchu which means "Old Mountain" in the Quechua language was abandoned following the Spanish conquests of the 1600s.

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