Cusco, the archaeological capital of America was the main city in Tahuantinsuyo Empire considered by the Incas like the center of the world.
Nowadays is the ultimate touristic center in Peru and has been recognized worldwide, like the one in 1978 by the 7th Mayor Convention from the Great Cities performed in Milan Italy, who declared Cusco like the “Cultural Heritage of the World”.
UNESCO, gave in 1983 the title of “Cultural Patrimony of Humanity”.
The Empire city of Cusco offers beautiful landscapes and a closening to the Inkas culture, not only for the ruins but for the people and customs, that strange but rich mixture of the old Europe and the new continent.
Cusco is and will be a cultural capital. Cusco is history, tradition and reality, a touristic destiny mandatory for those who love human history
Main Turistic Attractions
- Main Square, during Inkas time it was called Huacaypata or “Warrior Square” , place of legendary performances, and important ceremony center, place for the most important year celebrations called Inti Raymi or Sun Festival. It is surrounded by a beautiful stone archery.
- San Blas Neighborhood, one of the most pictoric place in Cusco. It features narrow streets between old colonial houses with stone Inca walls. It is also known like the ceramists neighborhood, because lots of stores and ceramics can be found there by famous popular artists.
- Atun Rumiyoc (12 angles stone). Is a wall built with green diorita stone, located out of the castle that belonged to Inca Roca. The wall is admired for its polygonal architecture, and the front covers all Hatunrumiyoc street.
- Koricancha, enjoy the sacred mysticism. It was one of the most worshipped and respected temples in the city. “The gold room” as it was known, was a sacred place where people worship the Inca god: INTI.
- The Cathedral, is one of the most important monuments in South America. The size is unique. The towers separate, and open more than permitted in any western building, to give it a bigger front and base to this first Spanish temple in the Inca capital.
- Jesus Company, The construction of the original church was started in 1571 or 1576 on the Amarucancha fields, palace of Inca Huayna Capac, that was one of the most modern palaces that surround the main square in Cusco.
- Church and La Merced Monastery, features the door in the center of the towers. It was founded in 1535. in the inside there were some barroco retablos that contrast with the severe neoclassic main chapel.
- Church and Santo Domingo Church, the Spanish writers say it was one of the most important buildings in Cusco. The most surprising is the perfect adaptation to the very first temple by the builders. And this is observed in the way the attic appears using the prehispanic wall curve.
- Church and Santa Catalina Monastery, it has two identical doors and one bell like. Everything contrast with the interior decoration distributed in the unique wall isabelina plant.
- Church and San Francisco Monastery, covers the outside of this church and a strong unique tower over the stone walls. The main entrance has a covered door or nartex unique in the city.
- San Blas Temple, is the oldest church in Cusco. Built in the ancient Inka neighborhood “Togokachi” in 1563, the most important quality is that shows a great desk carved in cedar wood.
- Almirant Palace, it is a real architecture beauty from Cusco. The name comes from one of the most important owners, Francisco Alderete Maldonado, who lived in that house until 1643.
- Inca Garcilazo de la Vega House, built on an Inka wall, is a singular example of viceroys architecture. It has prehispanic and colonial elements, like pictures of Cusco School.
- Snake House, This beautiful old house is called for the stone snake carved on the front. The first owner was Manco Sierra de Leguizamo, known for losing in a dice game the gold disc of Coricancha.
- Sacsayhuaman. The quechua name means “satisfied falcon”. It is an spectacular fortress built with huge carved rocks, joined with a lot of precision. It is one of the biggest buildings in Tahuantinsuyo.
- Kenko, 4 and 6 kilometers (5 minutes northeast from Cusco) through a road where you can find archaeological sites in quenko. This place is located on Socorro Hill and covers an area that covers 3500 square meters.
- Tambomachay or Inca Bath, located 8km (15min) northeast from Cusco, which was considered the favorite Inka’s neighborhood, and at the same time the base for Cusco Valley Defense.
- Puca Pucara, Inca location, which means “red fortress” for the color that the rocks show during the dawn.
- Pikillaqta and lucre lake, it was one of the most impressing regional centers from Wari culture. Nowadays is a National Archaeological Park with a great landscape interest that belongs to Quispicanchis province.
- Paucartambo, typical town located 100 kms east from Cusco, the narrow streets and covered by stone, the small squares and houses with balcony and big rooms, give Paucartambo a strong colonial look.
- Chincheros, town with and Inka origin that receives the custody of Chicon snowcapped and that name from sinchi quechua language means “valiant man”.
- Yucay, in the center of Sacred Valley, on the right side of Urubamba, this small but attractive town is located with lands that are particularly fertile, which name means “lie”, or “haunting”.
- Ollantaytambo, it was an strategy military center, religious and agricultural. The architecture scenery is very interesting for the size, style and originality of the buildings.
- Pisaq, is an important archaeological center that combines mystical inka constructions and natural richness of Urubamba Valley.
- Aguas Calientes, This place honors offering the visitors one of the wonders of the world: Machu Picchu sanctuary.
Altitude and Weather
- Altitude: 3400 mts above sea level.
- Weather: Dry, sunny days and cool nights.
- Temperature: 74 to 50°F –from 24 to 10 °C approx.
- Raining season: From December to March.
Typical Dishes and Drinks
The typical places to try Cusco food are chicherias and picanterias. There you can enjoy typical dishes like:
- Kapchi: habas soup or setas with potato, milk, eggs and cheese.
- Chicharron con mote: pork cooked with mote or corn.
- Humita: cooked with fresh corn salty or sweet. It is baked or steamed.
- Tamal: cooked with dry corn, salty or sweet, covered with corn leaves, it is steamed.
- Saralawa: fresh corn soup, habas, yellow chili and huacatay.
- Chuño cola: beef soup with rice, garbanzos and chuño or potato slices.
- Adobo: pork marinated with chichi and spices, boiled.
- Olluco with beef: olluco or cecina or llama beef stewed with olluco.
- January 20, Chearaje, competition between men from different areas, to determine who is the strongest and valiant. It is performed in different towns and reminds ancient customs.
- Carnivals, in different towns, people dance and drink for the happiness of these typical celebrations. In Coya there is a carnival Festival.
- Holy week, celebrations with lots of devotion and meditation. Several images go in procession. Tremor Lord, lord of the city is taken out on Holy Monday.
- Second Week in May, Cross adoration.
- Last week in May and first days in June, International beer festival including the most important Peruvian and international artists.
- June 1st, Corpus Christi.
- June 18th and 19th, Qoullurity and Quispicanchis Festival.
- June 24, Inti Raymi, Sun Festival, that comes from ancient eras, thanking the good harvest.
- July 15, Virgen del Carmen Festival in Paucartambo. Participation of all the town and the guests by “mamacha Carmen”.
- November 1st, All saints celebration, with groups of musicians, complete families come to cemeteries to remember their dead people. “Guaguas” are prepared, sweet bread with the shape of toys.
- December 24, Santuranticuy, popular fair where all the ceramists come from different places to expose their handicrafts.