About Cuzco City (Also Cusco or Qosqo)

The origins of Cuzco get lost in the night of times. Archaeological excavations made us know that primitive residents inhabited the valley of Cuzco (except for its bottom, then marshy) near three millenniums ago.


Toward the XII century, Manco Cápac and his sister-wife Mama Ocllo emerged from the waters of the Lake Titicaca, semi gods daughter and son of Inti (the god Sun), with the mission of the foundation of a new Kingdom that would improve the conditions of life of the towns. Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo would have to walk until finding a place in the earth where the great gold scepter that Manco Cápac had would submerge, they walked to the north and they arrived to Pacárec Tampu (Pacaritambo) where rested in a small cave; to the dawn they continued to the north arriving to the hill Huanacaure and there the scepter submerged, and there he founded the city of Cuzco (Quechua Language: the navel of the world).


Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo left in people's search, and formed the Hanan Cuzco. They taught them how to work the earth and how to sow; they made and used agricultural tools, artificial irrigation systems, to build and to live in towns.


Inhabitants of other districts arrived when got informed of the events, creating this way the Tahuantisuyo, the great empire of the Incas, which limits, after 14 successors of real lineage, reached Colombia by the north, and northern Chile and Argentina by the south; as capital Cuzco reached its maximum splendor.


It is known little more than names and legends from the first Incas kings, from Pachacútec (1448-1471) more information has gotten, the great conqueror who transformed Cuzco, reconstructing it. The Spaniards arrived and occupied the city in 1533, when Huáscar (Pachacutec's grandson) was the Inca king. In this time Cuzco was a city of admirable architecture made in stone with wide plazas, big temples and palaces decorated with abundant gold pieces. Many of these colossal constructions have been built for the eternity.


Cuzco City Overview

  • Location:

    Andean Area in the south of Peru, 11,151 feet (3,399 m.) above sea level.

  • Distances to Cuzco:

    From Lima 724 miles (1165 Km) by Nazca
    From Arequipa 388 miles (625 Km)
    From Puno: 241 miles (389 Km)
    From Puerto Maldonado (Tambopata): 331.25 miles (530 Km)

  • Population:

    291,000 inhabitants

Maps of Cuzco

Maps of Cuzco

Cuzco Guide

As the heart of the once mighty Inca Empire - The magnetic city of Cuzco

Also called Cusco or Qosqo ("The navel of the world" in the Quechua Language)


Cuzco City: The cultural coalition Andean-Hispanic, has determined very special characteristics in its architecture and population, city of incomparable beauty in the world, which conserves with pride their customs and traditions, at the same time progressively is incorporated to the modernity. To this is added the privileged geographical scenery, of beautiful landscapes, in which has been developed. The Spanish Cuzco has like base the foundations of the Inca walls and the lines of its streets, numerous buildings and churches were built, and a flourishing art school was founded (XVII century - XVIII), represented by numerous painters and authors (paintings of the "Escuela Cusqueña", pulpit of San Blas, Monstrance of the Cathedral and the Iglesia de la Merced, etc.)


Machu Picchu: Located 112 Km. (70 miles) from Cuzco. Is a mystical place, a monument to divinity, where people can feel that they are a creation of God. The high sense of spirituality that inhabits this place seems to transport its visitors to a place where everything "in an unimaginable way" is possible. It is a place where strange forces of nature allow the individuals to reach an incomparable cosmic state, a state that can only be experimented in Machu Picchu. It is one of the most popular archaeological sites of the world, and therefore, the most visited attraction in Peru.


Historical Centre of Cuzco: The city of Cuzco, the ancient capital of the empire of the Incas, is a Cultural World Heritage Site, and is without a doubt one of the most important destinations in Peru. There are Incan buildings waiting for you to discover them among its cobble-stoned streets, ones like the Koricancha and the palace of Inca Roca as well as Andean Baroque structures from the Colonial period like the Cathedral and the Jesuit Church of the Company of Jesus. In addition, you can visit the picturesque neighborhood of San Blas where the best artisans and artist in the department have set up their workshops.


Archaeological Places in Cuzco: Extraordinary Inca and Pre-Inca archaeological monuments as Sacsayhuaman with menhirs standing up to 29.5 feet and weighing 350 tons. A little farther along, there are other sacred sites where people went to worship their deities, like Kencco, or the very popular Baños del Inca (Inca baths) or Tambomachay, a fascinating site dedicated to worship water, and the fortress of Puca Pucará. Archaeological evidences that send us back to the origin and past splendor of the expired Incas. Also near to Cuzco archaeological places as Ollantaytambo, Pisac, Raqchi, Tipon, Choquequirao and more.


Around Cuzco: We cannot limit the wonders of Cuzco to just Machu Picchu. To begin with, there is a fantastic city, rich cultural expressions, and many other striking archeological complexes scattered across a truly amazing geography. Eye pleasing agricultural terraces descend down the mountains, like giant stair steps. The air is filled with the scent of baking bread, prepared in mud ovens, and endless fields of corn dance with the wind. You can visit amazing scenarios near to Cuzco city, archaeological places, gorgeous landscapes and beautiful towns as Chinchero, Maras, Moray, Tipon, Andahuaylillas, Raqchi. Also many towns located in Sacred Valley to enjoy their traditions and folklore.


Valle Sagrado de los Incas (Sacred Valley of the Incas): 15 Km. north of Cuzco. Called this way to the end of the extensive valley of Urubamba, where the agricultural cattlemen and beautiful towns were concentrated since Inca times. The valley is characterized to have very special conditions, as an excellent climate, very fertile lands and the waters of the sacred river of the Inca, Valle Sagrado is embraced between the towns of Pisac and Ollantaytambo, it has wonderful landscapes where its inhabitants, native of the Quechua ethnic, conserve many customs and ancestral rites.


Feast and Festivals in Cuzco: Cuzco celebrates some hundreds festivals a year. Most of them are held in homage to a patron saint and are part of the Christian calendar adopted in colonial times, although they have blended with the magical beliefs of ancient forms of worship. The celebrations of the Inti Raymi, Holy Week, Carnivals, Corpus Christi, and the feast of "Señor de los Temblores" (Lord of the Earthquakes), have special significance for cusquenians, becoming a great folkloric expression of their people.


Cuzco Outdoors: Excursions, trekking, hiking, rafting, mountain biking, mountaineering, horseback riding, paragliding and hang gliding, river or lake fishing, they are only some of the adventure and sports activities that can be practiced in one of the best scenarios in the world. In the Mountain Ranges of Vilcabamba, Vilcanota and Urubamba you will be able to find numerous snowy peaks that constitute a beautiful natural scenario, offering you possibilities to share its beautiful landscape with ideal places for the practice of mountain sports and mountain-climbing. The Inca Trail is Peru's most famous trekking route and possibly one of the most spectacular in the Americas, also the the circuits for trekking in Ausangate, Salcantay and Choquequirao.


Inca Trail: Part of the 23,000 kilometers (approximately 14,000 miles) of roads built by the Incas in South America, this is Peru's most famous trekking route and possibly one of the most spectacular in the Americas. Every year; some 25,000 hikers from around the world walk along the extraordinary 43 kilometers of this stone-paved road built by the Incas leading to the unassailable citadel of Machu Picchu located in the depth of the Cuzco jungle.


Cuzco Nature and Biodiversity: Peru and Cuzco undoubtedly, one of the world's top destinations for nature-lovers. Blessed with the richest ocean in the world, largely unexplored Amazon forests and the highest tropical mountain range on the planet, the possibilities for the development of biodiversity in its territory are virtually unlimited. With a little over 10% of all species of plants and animals on earth and a surprisingly diverse range of climates and ecosystems, Peru has become a modern Noah's Ark for nature-lovers, who along with students from all over the world, visit Peru to chalk up more experience, gain new knowledge and to get to know unique varieties. The Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu and Manu National Park are protected natural areas and both are Natural World Heritage Sites. For bird-watchers is a paradise.


Cuzco is the most visited tourist destination in Peru, and the wealthy attractiveness in the city and its areas around, as well as "Ciudad Perdida de los Incas" (Lost City of the Incas), Machu Picchu, the new 7 wonders of the World, transforms it into one of the main tourist attractiveness of the world, offering an excellent quality of tourist services.


We recommend you visit combined Arequipa, Lake Titicaca and Puno and or Tambopata with Cuzco

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