An inspiring thing has been happening along the narrow side streets and plazas in the ancient Inca capital city of Cusco.
For the last seven months an army of some 2,000 volunteers, equipped with special solvents, tooth brushes and hand brooms, have been working under the careful guidance of restoration experts to clean the iconic Inca polygonal masonry walls.
The campaign, now in its second year, is called “Dale vida a tu patrimonio” (or “Give life to your heritage”). It began in early May and will officially end on Nov. 30.
This year’s efforts helped remove graffiti, grease stains, nail polish, and myriad forms of plain old gritty dirt from more than 23,000 square feet of ancient stone walls at 14 historic sites, according to the Regional Cultural Directorate of Cusco.
People from a wide swath of Cusco society lent a hand for the conservation campaign, including elementary, high school and university students, government staff, supermarket workers, construction workers, soldiers and the staff of PeruRail and several hotels. The volunteers had to register and attend training seminars before taking to the streets in small cleaning brigades. The groups of up to 20 volunteers worked on Inca-era polygonal walls, was well as post-Inca and colonial- and Republican-era constructions.
“The results of this campaign are very positive because we get young volunteers involved in the care and preservation of our heritage,” said Ricardo Ruiz Caro, chief of Cusco’s regional Culture Directorate. “Now the population cares for and protects its patrimony and that is fundamental to the preservation of our heritage.”