LIMA — The Sheraton hotel chain is being accused of threatening Peru's cultural patrimony by building a new hotel in protected parts of Cuzco, the ancient capital of the Inca empire and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Accusing Sheraton of violating the conditions of an earlier municipal permit, Peru's culture ministry has decided to appeal a local court ruling on July 18 that construction could continue on the hotel, Lima-based El Comercio reported.
Those conditions stipulated that modern buildings in the historical district should not exceed two floors and must include an open space amounting to 30% of the plot, Cuzco mayor Carlos Moscoso told the daily.
Meanwhile, China's Xinhua news agency cited the local cultural heritage chief, Daniel Maravi, as saying that the hotel that Sheraton was building with local contractors clashed with the traditional surroundings, adding that some parts even sat atop ancient Inca pathways.
He said the building could threaten Cuzco's status as a Heritage site. City prosecutors and UNESCO, which can remove damaged sites from its Heritage list, were expected to send teams at the site to assess the situation.
Cuzco is Peru's second leading tourist destination, after the citadel of Machu Picchu, and is expecting around 300,000 visitors for the long weekend beginning on 28 July, the daily Perú 21 reports.