The Abril family of Peru is claiming that the land on which Machu Picchu sits belongs to them, and five lawsuits have already been filed claiming so.
Edgar Echegaray Abril, 70, still has the deed for the land of the ruins which shows his family paid gold for the land in 1910. While the family did sell the land in 1944, it did not sell the ruins, which were under expropriation by the state.
Abril says the state never paid for the ruins and is now asking the United Nations agency UNESCO to consider the case. His lawyer, Fausto Salinas, says, “The state said at that time  ‘we’re going to expropriate,’ but the process was never completed, and in Peru, as in international law, if the property is not expropriated from you, you don’t lose it.”
The family that bought the land from the Abril family, the Zavaletas, is also suing for compensation.
Both families say Peru’s government has failed to pay them what is rightfully owed. However, the government says the land and citadel belong “to all Peruvians”, as State ownership is documented in the registry.
In 1911, the ruins of Machu Picchu were found once again by Hiram Bingham, an American explorer.