Friendly and hospitable, the city of Cusco is a cosmopolitan city
That has managed to wisely combine the impetus of modernity with its mystical millenary past, which has led it to offer the foreign visitor an energy aura rarely seen. It was the capital of the Tahuantinsuyo, sacred city and center of government of the four extensive regions of the vast Inca empire that came to cover great part of the current territories of Ecuador, Colombia, Bolivia, Argentina and Chile. It holds the titles of “Archaeological Capital of America” and “Cultural Heritage of Humanity”, in addition to being the “Historical Capital of Peru”.
Some chroniclers affirm that in the first centuries of its existence its name was Akamama, which means “Mother of the Chicha” (chicha = a type of fermented corn beer). Already as capital of the Tawantinsuyo, it was called Cusco, which comes from the Quechua word Qosqo, in Spanish “navel” or “center”. That is why the Inca Garcilazo de la Vega defined it as the “Center or navel of the world”.
After the Spanish conquest, in 1533, the name was transformed into Cuzco, a derogatory form that meant “hypocrite”, “hunchback” and “small dog”, in an attempt to minimize or satirize the importance of the city.
However, at the end of the 20th century an important social movement struggled to preserve the original name of this ancient city, and on June 20, 1990, the name of Qosqo was officially established.
Cusco is a territory of meetings that served as a support for the development of important cultures such as the Inca. But, in addition, it is a kind of geographical hinge, a gate between the mountainous mountain range, the amazonian forest and the extensive Andean high plateau. Hence its ecological diversity and the contrast of its landscapes. Its great mountains are combined with high plateaus, undulating pampas, deep valleys and Amazonian plains.
Although it has all the services to fully meet the demands of the huge flow of tourists who visit it, in the provinces and surroundings the supply decreases, so we recommend getting everything you need in the capital of the department.
Cuzco continues to be an important regional center. But, not only is it great for its archaeological monuments, but for the great wealth of its land and its people.
Cusco, Peru’s main tourist destination and one of the most important in the world, offers its visitors, in a unique and spectacular way, a rich historical and monumental legacy, located in a territory of mountains and multicolored valleys , forests and lush forests, beautiful lagoons and torrentosos rivers. The department of Cusco is considered Cultural Heritage of Humanity and its main attraction The Natural Sanctuary and Citadel of Machu Picchu , declared one of the new seven wonders of humanity.
Cusco offers the traveler to enjoy the thrill of outdoor tourism, in an environment of beautiful landscapes, dazzle with the testimonies of the Inca architecture, admire the artistic richness of the colonial churches , overwhelm with the penetrating sound of the pututos or sacred conches , enjoy the most beautiful sunrise in the world on the heights of three crosses , feel and live the live cultures in Cusco communities or experience the flavor and aroma of a tasty pachamanca or a delicious baked pork .
Cusco , mythical capital of the Inca Empire, proudly retains its walls and stone walls, which evoke the greatness of the children of the sun.A city full of monuments and historical relics , of myths and legends, that seem to be reborn every time you walk through its centuries-old streets. Arriving in the city of Cusco, walking through its streets and enjoying its landscapes is transported directly to the past, its atmosphere originates in those who breathe experiences of deep fascination.
Location of Cusco:
Cusco is located in a fertile valley, bathed by the waters of the rivers Huatanay (tributary of Vilcanota) and Tullumayo, in the southeast Andes of Peru, at 3,360 masl The department of Cusco is divided into 13 provinces : Acomayo , Anta, Calca, Canas, Canchis , Chumbivilcas, Cusco, Espinar, The Convention , Paruro, Paucartambo, Quispicanchi , and Urubamba. The city of Cusco is divided into 8 districts: Ccorca, Cusco, Poroy, San Jerónimo, San Sebastián, Santiago, Saylla, and Wanchaq.
Attractions of Cusco and its surroundings
Since 1911, the year in which the American archeologist Hiram Bingham discovered for the world the citadel of Machu Picchu , Cusco has provoked the imagination of thousands and thousands of travelers in the world who venture, every year, in the millenary Inca Trail seeking to crown the top of this archaeological monument , one of the most impressive in the whole world.
The city of Cusco offers in its urban archaeological circuit, surprising attractions and unmissable visit: The Plaza de Armas , calledHuacaypata by the Incas, the artisan neighborhood of San Blas , the Convent of Santo Domingo , built on the Temple of the Sun. or Koricancha , the palaces of the Inca and their court, and a long etcetera of archaeological and historical wonders. Near the city of Cusco you can visit the imposing ruins of Sacsayhuaman , Qenko , Puca Pucara and Tambomachay or Inca baths.
Cusco is surrounded by impressive archaeological remains, such as the citadel of Machu Picchu , the fortress of Sacsayhuaman , the complex of Ollantaytambo , the complex of Pisac , the enigmatic Moray platforms and villages with living culture located in the Sacred Valley : Pisac , Calca , Yucay , Ollantaytambo , Urubamba , Chinchero and Maras, where their traditions and ancestral customs are kept alive.
The city of Cusco offers a cosmopolitan and generous nightlife, it is also a magical city, dizzying and exciting. This, together with the archaeological wealth, makes the sacred city of the Incas the most spectacular of the destinations of the American tourist circuit . It is recommended a stay of no less than 4 or 5 days to enjoy the city and its surroundings.
Corners and traditional neighborhoods of Cusco
Plaza de armas , San Blas , Hatun Rumíyoc Street, Plazuela de las Nazarenas, Loreto Street, Pukamarca and Kolcapampa.
Churches and convents of Cusco
The Cathedral , Church of Triunfo , La Merced , Santo Domingo , Santa Catalina , San Francisco , San Pedro and San Cristóbal
Museums and historic mansions in Cusco:
Archbishop Palace or Museum of Religious Art, Garcilaso de la Vega House or Regional Historical Museum, Museum of Santa Catalina, Casa Cabrera, Palace of the Admiral or Inca Museum, Snake House, Casa del Marqués de Valleumbroso, Casa Concha.
Typical dishes of Cusco
The meals are part of a millenary legacy that with the passing of time has been refined and enriched with ingredients from all over the world. Among the most well known dishes of Cuzco gastronomy we have: Cachun chuño , Baked pork , Chicharrón a la Cuzqueña , Churi uchú , Chuño cola , Olluquito with charqui , Pepián de Cuy , Cheese with Khachi , Quinoa with garlic , Timpu or puchero .
Popular Festivities in Cusco
The most important Cuzco festivities are: Holy Week , with its processions of Holy Monday Holy Friday between the months of March and April, The Vigil of the Cross or Cruzvelakuy , the night of May 2, The Corpus Christi the most beloved party by Cuzquenos is celebrated between May and June and the Celebration of Inti Raymi are among the most impressive of its kind in the world.
Far from Cuzco, but with equal originality and beauty The festival of the Lord of Q’oyllur Ritti , which is celebrated in the months of May or June in the foothills of the Sinakara, in the Cordillera del Ausangate, The feast of the Virgen del Carmen which takes place in Paucartambo on July 16.
Other parties in the department of Cusco are: Festival of the Lord of Choquequilca in Ollantaytambo, Yawar Party in Combapata, Fair of Tiobamba, San Bernardo and Ceremony of Huarachicuy, Pilgrimage to the Sanctuary of the Lord of Huanca, The Virgin of the Rosary, The Immaculate Conception, Santuranticuy and Fiesta del Niño.