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Cusco General Information

cusco imperial

Cusco, is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco department as well as the Cusco Province. In 2014, the city had a population of 435,114. Located on the eastern end of the Knot of Cuzco, its elevation is around 3,400 m (11,200 ft).

The site was the historic capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th into the 16th century until the Spanish invasion. In 1983 Cusco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. It has become a major tourist destination, receiving nearly 2 million visitors a year. The Constitution of Peru designates it as the Historical Capital of Peru. 

Main Attractions Cusco:

The Cathedral of Cusco

Building went through two stages: first the Capilla del Triunfa was built over the ancient temple of Sunturwasi (House of God), then the cathedral was built over the palace of Inca Viracocha. The Renaissance style dominates the facade and interior, with an interior rich in carvings in cedar and alder. The choir and pulpit excel in beauty. It host an important collection silver objects and paintings from the Cusco School (Escuela Cusqueña) .

Sacsayhuaman Archeological Complex:

A 2 km northeast of the city of Cusco The complex includes 33 archaeological sites, of which the best known is the Sacsayhuaman fortress. This would have been really a religious structure, but because of its location and style was considered by the Spanish chroniclers a military construction. IT might have hosted the most important temple in Hanan Qosqo or Upper Cusco, dedicated to Andean cosmology and to the worship of Inti (Sun), Quilla (moon), Chaska (stars), Illapa (Ray) and other deities. It is described as massive for the size of its stones, some of which weigh between 90 and 128 tons. Every June 24 is the scene of the Inti Raymi or Festival of the Sun

The Sacred Valley:

The Urubamba Valley, also known as the Sacred Valley or Cusco Sacred Valley, is located north of Cusco. It is a fertile area, once inhabited by the Incas. Inca ruins are prevalent throughout the valley, with the two largest sites of Pisac and Ollantaytambo. The Sacred Valley today is home to a number of typical Andean villages. This is a good place to see the villagers daily life in the Andes. The Sacred Valley is large, and highlights are Pisac Market and Pisac ruins, the Inca sites of Moray and Salinas, and the beautiful city and the ruins of Ollantaytambo.

Machu Picchu:

This ancient city built of stone was the capital of the ancient Inca Empire and was rediscovered by American Hiram Brigham in 1911. UNESCO declared it a World Heritage Site and was also considered one of the New 7 Wonders of the World. This set contains the mysteries past and strategies of the first Peruvian organization for the work of agriculture, and for religious concentration to worship the sun god.

Treks in Cusco

Inca Trail:

The Inca Trail to Machu Picchu (also known as Camino Inca or Camino Inka) consists of three overlapping trails: Mollepata, Classic, and One Day. Mollepata is the longest of the three routes with the highest mountain pass and intersects with the Classic route before crossing Warmiwañusqa ("dead woman"). Located in the Andes mountain range, the trail passes through several types of Andean environments including cloud forest and alpine tundra. Settlements, tunnels, and many Incan ruins are located along the trail before ending the terminus at the Sun Gate on Machu Picchu mountain. The two longer routes require an ascent to beyond 4,200 metres (13,800 ft) above sea level, which can result in altitude sickness.

Salkantay Trek:

The Salkantay Trek that leads to the ruins of Machu Picchu is the best option for those who wish to be in contact with great Andean nature and visit remote villages less known and seldom visited by tourist. By taking this excursion visitors will really get off the beating track, avoiding less crowded environments and will enjoy along the way wonderful landscapes and fine Inca buildings. Without a doubt the trek of Salkantay is the best alternative to reach the great Sanctuary of Machu Picchu, after the famous Inka Trail. Walk back in time and feel the magic of Machu Picchu.

Ausangate Trek:

The Cordillera Vilcanota is an impressive range of mountains which includes the highest glacierAusangate (6,385m) and three others over 6000m. It’s an excellent trekking area offering travellers more than you could ask for, spectacular mountains and glacier scenery, snow-capped peaks, hot springs, turquoise lakes, glaciers, flora (most of the plants are medicinal used by locals) and fauna like Condors, llamas, alpacas, vicuñas and chinchilas. Picturesque villages and traditionally dressed residents. It is high, windy and cold so be prepared.