The Machu Picchu archeological site is devoid of tourists while it's closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, in the department of Cusco, Peru, Oct 27, 2020. (PHOTO / AP)
CUSCO, Peru – The Incan citadel of Machu Picchu, one of South America's biggest tourist draws, reopened to visitors in Peru on Wednesday after several weeks of closure due to civil unrest.
Although the protests and road blockades, which have been focused in the south of Peru, are ongoing, there has been a relative calm in recent days
Protests triggered by the ouster and jailing of former Peruvian President Pedro Castillo in December left travelers stranded in the Andes and led authorities to evacuate Machu Picchu and halt the trains that run between the site and the city of Cusco.
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Although the protests and road blockades, which have been focused in the south of Peru, are ongoing, there has been a relative calm in recent days.
The reopening came after an agreement between tourist businesses, authorities, and community leaders to guarantee security at the site and for transport services.
For visitors from Argentina on their summer vacation the timing of the reopening was lucky.
"We had it all organized," said one woman at the site, who did not give her name. "We were really worried that we wouldn't be able to come. We arrived in Cusco on Feb 13, and they opened on Feb 15. It was a nice surprise."
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The mountain citadel of Machu Picchu was built in the 15th century, probably for an Incan emperor. It was abandoned around the time of the Spanish conquest and rediscovered in 1911 by American explorer Hiram Bingham.