Click on the picture
Rafting in Apurímac River (Photo: J.L. Tord)
Girl and llamas in Sacred Valley (Photo: H. Mazzotti)
Handycraft of Cusco (Photo: R. Mazzotti)
Coricancha Temple (Photo: H. Mazzotti)
Cusco City (Photo: G. Biffulco)
Cusco - Qosqo

Cusco has many and deserved titles, such as "Historical Capital of Peru", "Archaeological Capital of America" and "World Heritage Site" by UNESCO

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

From Lima 724 miles (1,165 km) (by Nazca)
From Arequipa 388 miles (625 km)
From Puno: 241 miles (389 km)

291,000 inhabitants 


The origins of Cusco get lost in the night of times. Archaeological excavations made us know that primitive residents inhabited the valley of Cusco (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 Titicaca Lake, 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 Cusco (Quechua Language: the navel of the world).

Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo left in people's search, and formed the Hanan Cusco. 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 Cusco 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 Cusco, reconstructing it. The Spaniards arrived and occupied the city in 1533, when Huascar (Pachacútec's grandson) was the Inca king.

In this time Cusco 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.

The Spanish Cusco 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, Custody of the Cathedral and the Iglesia de la Merced, etc.)

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.

Cusco 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, transforms it into one of the main tourist attractiveness of the world, offering an excellent quality of tourist services.

Also called Cuzco and Qosqo

Photo Gallery


See also: