Back in July we reported on a developer in Peru who bulldozed a 4,000 year old pyramid. Situated on the site of El Paraíso, a 4,000 year-old settlement pre-Inca near Lima, it’s one of the most important archaeological sites in the country. It’s also prime real estate.
That’s why developers decided to bulldoze one of the pyramids to make way for some new housing. The prehistoric monument was completely leveled, and they would have taken down three more pyramids if an archaeologist and some watchmen didn’t intervene.
Two private companies, Compañía y Promotora Provelanz E.I.R.L and Alisol S.A.C Ambas, claim to own the land, but the Ministry of Culture says it’s owned by the government. Both sides have put up signs at the site claiming ownership. After the bulldozing incident, the government doubled security.
Now Past Horizons reports that two months later, no charges have been brought against the companies or any individuals identified as being part of the work crew. It appears that the two companies have won this round.
This video shows what the pyramid used to look like, and the barren destruction that’s been left in the name of development.
It’s been a tough year for ancient monuments, what with subway workers in China accidentally demolishing 3000-year-old tombs, a limestone quarry destroying part of the Nazca Lines, and pyramids in Peru and Belize being bulldozed by “developers.”
Now Alabama is getting in on the game. The city of Oxford, Alabama, has approved the destruction of a mound of stones and the hill on which it stands in order to use the dirt as fill for a Sam’s Club site. City mayor Leon Smith says it’s a natural formation and was only used to send smoke signals, but the State Historical Commission disagrees and says it’s about 1,500 years old and eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.
Artificial earthen and stone mounds were common features of prehistoric Native American civilizations and are found in many parts of North America. Some were used for burials while others appear to have been ritual sites. There have already been protests against the destruction.
For more on this issue, check out this article by The Institute for Southern Studies, which includes many links to local newspaper articles and official reports.
Residents of St. Petersburg are protesting plans to build a giant skyscraper that they say will ruin the city’s historic skyline.
Russia’s powerful gas company Gazprom plans to build a 400 meter (1,312 ft.) office building in the shape of a twisting glass needle. It would dwarf the historic buildings and churches that have made Russia’s former imperial capital famous.
While Gazprom usually gets its way, some powerful forces are aligning against the building. St. Petersburg is one of the biggest tourist attractions in Russia and a lot of money could be lost if the city’s skyline is blighted. The Cultural Ministry is calling for a legal investigation to see if the building is legal. UNESCO has warned that the building could make St. Petersburg lose its status as a World Heritage Site.
It’s unclear who will win this battle, so if you’re planning a trip to St. Petersburg, it might be a good idea to do it sooner rather than later.
A combination of growing demand from business travelers and a souring economy have led hotel developer Accor to focus on mid-range hotels in the world’s largest countries. So far in India, the formula seems to be a good one. As the country grows economically, more people will be traveling there for business purposes. Smaller businesses or independent entrepreneurs who don’t want to spring for a 5-star room have few options. Accor’s budget brand, Ibis, has already opened one location in Gurgaon. The company also has two Novotels in Hyderabad. These hotels are focused on providing solid service with a few extras, but nothing in terms of the over-the-top luxury seen at a 4 or 5-star. The strategy is to be attractive both to domestic and international business travelers.
Currently, over half of Accor’s India bookings come directly from corporate buyers seeking bulk rates. However, the mid-range prices and services could be attractive to independent travelers seeking an economical alternative to India’s current hotel options.