Machu Picchu, the ancient Incan citadel nestled in the Peruvian Andes, continues to captivate the world with its remarkable architecture and rich cultural significance. As one of the New Seven Wonders of the World, it attracts millions of visitors each year. But who owns this iconic archaeological site today? In this article, we delve into the history of Machu Picchu’s ownership, explore its current custodian, and examine the role of the Peruvian government in preserving and protecting this invaluable heritage.

Exploring the History of Machu Picchu’s Ownership

Machu Picchu was built during the 15th century by the Inca civilization, but its ownership remained unknown until its rediscovery by American explorer Hiram Bingham in 1911. Bingham, sponsored by Yale University, conducted extensive research and excavation in the area, leading to the exposure of this hidden gem. As a result, Yale University initially held the rights to Machu Picchu’s artifacts and documents.

The Current Custodian of Machu Picchu

Since 2007, the current custodian of Machu Picchu is the Peruvian government. They oversee the management and preservation of the site, ensuring its safeguarding for future generations. The Ministry of Culture of Peru, through the Decentralized Directorate of Culture of Cusco, assumes responsibility for the day-to-day operations and maintenance of Machu Picchu.

The Role of the Peruvian Government

The Peruvian government recognizes the immense cultural importance of Machu Picchu and has taken various measures to protect and conserve the site. They have implemented strict regulations to control visitor numbers and preserve the integrity of the structures. Additionally, they collaborate with international organizations, such as UNESCO, to ensure the preservation of this World Heritage Site.

Preserving and Protecting Machu Picchu

Machu Picchu is subject to preservation efforts aimed at maintaining its authenticity and preventing deterioration. The Peruvian government invests in ongoing restoration projects to repair and stabilize the structures affected by time and natural elements. These initiatives are crucial in maintaining the site’s integrity and ensuring its longevity.

Challenges in Maintaining Ownership

Maintaining ownership of Machu Picchu comes with its own set of challenges. The high influx of tourists poses a risk to the site’s fragile ecosystem and cultural heritage. Balancing the preservation of the site with the economic benefits of tourism requires careful planning and sustainable management strategies.

Implications for Tourism and Local Communities

Machu Picchu’s ownership by the Peruvian government has significant implications for tourism and local communities. Tourism revenue generated from the site contributes to the economic development of the region, supporting local businesses and infrastructure. Furthermore, the government works to ensure that the benefits of tourism reach the surrounding communities, promoting sustainable practices and preserving their cultural identity.


Machu Picchu, a treasure of human history, is now under the ownership and custodianship of the Peruvian government. With their commitment to preservation and protection, they endeavor to maintain the site’s integrity and share its beauty with the world. As we continue to marvel at the wonders of Machu Picchu, it is crucial to remember the efforts made to safeguard this cultural masterpiece for future generations.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Who originally owned Machu Picchu?

Machu Picchu was built by the Inca civilization during the 15th century, but its ownership remained unknown until its rediscovery by Hiram Bingham in 1911.

2. When did the Peruvian government take ownership of Machu Picchu?

The Peruvian government assumed ownership of Machu Picchu in 2007.

3. Can anyone buy Machu Picchu?

No, Machu Picchu is not available for private ownership. It is a national treasure of Peru and is managed by the Peruvian government.

4. How is Machu Picchu protected from private ownership?

Machu Picchu is protected from private ownership through strict regulations implemented by the Peruvian government. These regulations aim to preserve the site’s cultural heritage and prevent any attempts to privatize it.

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