Cusco was the capital of Inca Empire Many believe that the city was planned to be shaped like a puma. The city had two sectors: the urin and hanan, which were further divided to each encompass two of the four provinces, Chinchasuyu (NW), Antisuyu (NE), Cuntisuyu (SW), and Collasuyu (SE). A road led from each of these quarters to the corresponding quarter of the empire. Each local leader was required to build a house in the city and live part of the year in Cusco, but only in the quarter of Cuzco that corresponded to the quarter of the empire he had territory in. After Pachacuti, when an Inca died his title went to one son and his property was given to a corporation controlled by his other relatives, so each title holder had to build a new house and add new lands to the empire, in order to own any home and the land his family needed to maintain it after his death. Andean Indians still abandon their homes and build new ones when they marry, even if no one remains in the house.
According to Inca legend, the city was built by Sapa Inca Pachacuti, the man who transformed the Kingdom of Cusco from a sleepy city-state into the vast empire of Tahuantinsuyu. But archaeological evidence points to a slower, more organic growth of the city beginning before Pachacuti. There was however a city plan, and two rivers were channeled around the city.
POST – COLUMBIAN CUSCO
The first Spaniards arrived in the city on November 15, 1533. Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, officially discovered Cuzco on March 23, 1534, naming it the “Very noble and great city of Cusco”. The many buildings constructed after the Spanish conquest are of Spanish influence with a mix of Inca architecture, including the Santa Clara and San Blas barrios. The Spanish undertook the construction of a new city on the foundations of the old Inca city, replacing temples with churches and palaces with mansions for the conquerors. During the colony, the city of Cuzco was very prosperous thanks to the agriculture, cattle raising, mining as well as the trade with Spain. This allowed the construction of many churches and convents, and even a Cathedral, University and an Archbishopric. Often, Spanish buildings were juxtaposed atop the massive stone walls built by the Inca.
CUSCO THROUGT HISTORY
The terrain in Cusco is steep, combining fertile inter-Andean valleys with impressive mountains that descend to the rim of the jungle where the temperature rises and the landscape is transformed through a variety of vegetation.
The city of Cusco, the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, was placed on the World Cultural Heritage List by UNESCO in 1983, 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 Church of the Company of Christ. In addition, you can visit the picturesque neighborhood of San Blas where the best artisans in the department have set up their workshops. This magical city also has an exciting nightlife with cafes, restaurants, and bars for all tastes. Just ten minutes away from the city, there are the massive walls of the Sacsayhuamán fortress, and a few kilometers from there, you find the archeological sites of Qenko, Pukapukara, and Tambomachay, Incan buildings constructed completely with stone.
There are also the towns of Písac, Maras, Chinchero, and Ollantaytambo, which are spread throughout the Sacred Valley of the Incas, one hour from Cusco. From there, it is possible to catch the train to Machu Picchu. Another way of getting to the citadel is by following one of the Inca Trails, a spectacular network of pathways that snake their way among the snow covered mountains, rivers, and overwhelming countryside. This is one of the best trekking routes in the world, since scattered throughout it, you find remarkable archeological sites and areas rich in unique plant and animal species.
The enigmatic complex of Machu Picchu, the most important and beautiful legacy of the ancient Peruvian, is part of the Historic Sanctuary of the same name, which is also one of the few places in the Americas placed on both the World Cultural and Natural Heritage Lists by UNESCO. It is located high on top of a mountain and complements the exuberant nature that surrounds it, creating a one of a kind place in the world.
- Capital: Cusco (3399 masl / 11.156 fasl)
- Altitude: Lowest point: 532 masl / 1745 fasl (Pilcopata)
- Highest point: 4801 masl / 15.751 fasl (Suyckutamb
The city has a semi-dry and cold climate. The annual average maximum temperature is 19.6ºC (67.3ºF) and the minimum is 4.2ºC (39.6ºF). The rainy season starts in November and ends in March, and it is the time when the mountains are covered in green. Between June and July is the time of the intense cold (heladas) even with occasional snowfalls.
- April – September: dry and sunny
- Octuber – March : rainy and variable.
- Cusco has an anual average temperatura of 11°
- Altitud : 3399 msnm (metres over the sea level)
|By land: Lima – Arequipa – Cusco||1650 km / 1025 miles||(26 hours by car)|
|Lima – Nasca – Puquio – Abancay – Cusco||1131 km / 703 miles||(20 hours by car)|
|Puno – Cusco||389 km / 242 miles||(7 hours by car)|
|By air: Daily flights to Cusco from Lima (1 hour) and Arequipa (30 minutes)|
|By train: Regular service from Puno||384 km / 239 miles|
DISTANCES FROM DE CITY OF CUSCO :
|Acomayo||104,5 km (65 miles)||3 hours|
|Anta||26 km (16 miles)||30 minutes|
|Calca||50 km (31 miles)||1 hour and 15 minutes|
|Yanaoca||165 km (103 miles)||3 hours|
|Canchis||138 km (86 miles)||2 hours|
|Santo Tomás (Province of Chumbivilcas)||240 km (149 miles)||10 hours|
|Yauri (Province of Espinar)||241 km (150 miles)||7 hours|
|Quillabamba (Province of La Convención)||210 km (130 miles)||6 hours|
|Paruro||64 km (40 miles)||2 hours|
|Paucartambo||109 km (68 miles)||3 hours|
|Urcos (Province of Quispicanchi)||46 km (29 miles)||40 minutes|
|Urubamba||78 km (48 miles)||1 hour and 25 minutes|
Alejandro Velasco Astete International Airport
Avenida Velasco Astete, Cusco. Telephone: (084) 22-2611
Main bus Station: Avenida Vallejos Santoni, block 2, Santiago, Cusco. Telephone: (084) 22-4471
Urubamba bus stop via Pisaq: Calle Puputi, block 2, Cusco
Urubamba bus stop via Chinchero: Avenida Grau, block 1, Cusco
Wanchaq Station – Service to Puno: Avenida Pachacutec, Cusco. Telephone: (084) 23-8722 / 22-1992. Email: Reservas@perurail.
San Pedro Station – Service to Machu Picchu: Calle Ccascaparo, Cusco
Regional Hospital: Avenida De la Cultura, Cusco. Telephone: (084) 22-3691
Hospital Antonio: Lorena. Plazoleta Belén 1358, Cusco. Telephone: (084) 22-6511
Tourism Police: Calle Shapy 510, Cusco. Telephone: (084) 24-9654
Craft Market: Corner of Avenida Tullumayo and Avenida Pachacuteq, Cusco
San Blas Art Market: San Blas neighborhood. Opening hours: Sat. 9:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.
Pisaq People’s Market: District of Pisaq. Opening hours: Sun., Tues., and Thurs. 8:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.
Chincheros Market: District of Chincheros. Opening hours: Sun., Tues., and Thurs. 8:00 A.M. – 6:00 P.M.
Av. El Sol 800, Cusco. Telephone: (084) 22-4212 / 24-8352.
Attention: Mon. – Sat. 7:30 A.M. – 7:30 P.M. and Sun. 7:30 A.M. – 2:00 P.M.