23. Do people live on Machu Picchu?

Introduction: Machu Picchu is an ancient Inca site located high in the Andes Mountains of Peru, and it is one of the most popular tourist destinations in the world. Many people wonder if anyone lives on or near the site, given its remote location and historical significance. This question requires us to examine the history and current status of Machu Picchu’s habitation.

Historical occupation: Machu Picchu was occupied by the Inca people for several decades before being abandoned in the late 16th century, during the Spanish conquest of the region. However, it is important to note that the site was not a city but a royal estate, and it is likely that only a few hundred people lived there at any given time.

Current status: Today, Machu Picchu is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular tourist destination, receiving around 1.5 million visitors annually. However, the Peruvian government strictly limits the number of visitors allowed on the site each day, and tourists are not permitted to spend the night within the ruins.

Nearby settlements: There are several small settlements located near Machu Picchu, including the town of Aguas Calientes, which serves as a gateway for tourists visiting the site. These settlements are home to a few thousand people, and many of them are involved in the tourism industry, working as tour guides, hotel staff, or vendors.

Conservation efforts: Due to its popularity and significance, Machu Picchu is under threat from the negative effects of tourism, including pollution, erosion, and damage to the site’s fragile structures. The Peruvian government and various organizations have launched conservation efforts to protect the site, including limiting the number of visitors and enforcing strict rules regarding behavior and preservation.

Conclusion: In conclusion, while no one currently lives on Machu Picchu itself, the site is visited by millions of tourists each year, and there are several nearby settlements involved in the tourism industry. Efforts are being made to preserve the site’s fragile structures and protect it from the negative effects of human presence, ensuring that it remains a unique and valuable part of Peru’s cultural heritage.