A digital project for the preservation of Machu Picchu


Institutional Communication Service

12 October 2020

The Peruvian anthropologist and archaeologist Fernando Astete is regarded as the guardian of Machu Picchu for his constant commitment to the conservation of this World Heritage Site. The images in his archives have been collected in the website www.machupicc.hu developed by USI UNESCO Chair, thanks to several contributions and the valuable work of young students and researchers. The aim is to promote sustainable tourism that fosters the cultural and natural value of the site, focusing on understanding and respect for the environment and local culture.

Fernando Astete (San Antonio Abad University of Cusco) has dedicated his life to safeguarding the collective memory of this place, symbol of Peru's archaeological and cultural identity. The Machu Picchu project, seen through the eyes of Fernando Astete, was born from the collaboration of two people and two UNESCO Chairs. On the one hand, Professor Lorenzo Cantoni, UNESCO Chair at USI in communication technologies at the service of sustainable tourism and heritage. On the other hand, Adine Gavazzi, Swiss architect and founding member of the UNESCO Chair in Health Anthropology at the University of Genoa. From this meeting and the abundance of iconographic material collected by Fernando Astete in over 35 years of activity on site, a collection within the Iconoteca dell'Accademia di Architettura (for an expert audience) and the new site www.machupicc.hu (informative, suitable for a general audience) were born. The website also features stories narrating what lies behind Fernando Astete's photographs: an original way for the public to get acquainted with Machu Picchu not only through images but also through the words and emotions of the Peruvian anthropologist.

Numerous students and researchers, mainly from Università della Svizzera italiana, coordinated by Dr Anna Picco-Schwendener of USI, have also worked on this material. Their faces and experiences have been collected in the section of the website www.machupicc.hu/about-us: "I hope that through this project, we can continue to share the incredible stories behind Fernando Astete's images and inspire everyone to be more responsible in their travels" - underlines, for example, Maha Abdul Muhusin, student of the Master in International Tourism at USI who worked on the project from her home country, the Maldives.


Fernando Astete at USI Lugano to talk about the preservation of Machu Picchu (March 2019)