Recognizing the strong power of history in a population, the Patronato Machu Picchu executes projects aimed at highlighting the culture of the Peruvian communities in Cuzco and the Andean highlands.
This association tries to protect the cultural and natural heritage of Peru, by working from the social, ecological, tourist and identity point of view, and creating opportunities to achieve sustainable development. Conservation and respect for the environment are developed through community education programs, ecological awareness and ecotourism.
The Inca Q’eswachakaes Bridge
According to the founder of the organization, Carmen Arróspide, one of the first and most outstanding projects of the Patronato Machu Picchu, is the help it gives to the community for the annual restoration of the Inca Q’eswachakaes Bridge, the last suspension bridge of the Incas, which is close to becoming a World Heritage Site by Unesco.
It is made of strings of vegetable fibers by the members of the district of Quehue during a festival every year. It measures 33 meters in lengthand 1.20 meters in width, at a height of 15 meters above the river.
The Patronato Machu Picchu and the population hope that with this recognition, the cultural value will be given to the people for the work they do in maintaining the bridge, and in this way contribute to the socio-economic development and guarantee the protection of Peru’s heritage.
The support of the Machu Picchu Board for the conservation of species
Through an agreement signed with the National Institute of Agrarian Innovation, the association manages a botanical garden with more than 70 species of flora, in the district of Anta in the Andenes de Zurite.
The Botanical Garden of Zurite shows native plants and seeks to raise awareness among the local population and tourists about biodiversity and conservation programs. In the same way, research projects on Andean and jungle plants are carried out from there, including the studies on the adaptation to climate change.
For the agronomist and responsible for the botanical garden, Víctor Nina Montiel, one of the organization’s concerns is to guarantee a record of Peruvian germplasm, since due to the diversity they possess, international recognition for the conservation of all the species is of vital importance.
Throughout history, Peruvians have had a great knowledge in plants, not only from the alimentary point of view, but also from the medicinal one. However, in recent years, a new generation distanced from rural life has forgotten or relegated the great contributions of their ancestors to solve health problems.
«With this botanical garden, the intention is to try to preserve part of the germplasm of Peru in order to teach the community knowledge of hundreds of years old, and continue with the tradition and care for the cultural heritage of this country,» said Montiel.
Rural tourism in Cuzco
Another program developed by the Board is Casa Habitante, a communal tourist undertaking, where the NGO provides its knowledge to the residents, so that they can offer quality accommodation to visitors from around the world. Furthermore, they can also show them customs and daily life of the Andean communities of Peru, and with it, expand the economic prospects of the area.