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Cuzco – the Heartland of the Inca’s

Submitted by on July 25, 2011 – 7:52 pm2 Comments

Plaza de Armas

Cuzco – The Capital of the Incas

Cuzco is located in the south east region of the Andes mountain range, Cuzco was the capital of one of the biggest pre Columbian empires – The Tawantisuyo ( 4 regions depicting North, East, South, & West).

It’s name in Quechua, Qosco, means belly button of the world, because it was the starting point of the road network that joined almost all of South America.

Cuzco is a fascinating mix of Inca and Colonial Spanish architecture; colonial churches, monasteries, convents and Inca remains are found at every corner, many streets are lined with perfect Inca stonework’s, which served as foundation for most Spanish constructions that took place in the XVI and XVII centuries.

Cuzco Cathedral

Our private tour started at 10am. We visited the great Cathedral of Cuzco, the Koricancha Temple, the gigantic Fortress of Sacsayhuaman and the Labyrinths at Qenko.

The Cathedral of Cuzco was very impressive and contained over 400 paintings from the Cusqueña School, several altars which were prominent in the 17th century.

Among them a painting of the Last Supper by Marcos Zapata, showing Christ and the apostles eating guinea pig (Guinea-pig was the one of the main courses at sacred feasts in Inca times) was interesting.


We then visited one of the most sacred Inca buildings, “The Temple of Qorikancha”. Qorikancha was the most important temple of the Inca Empire. According to archaeologists it housed over 1000 priests and attendants. Within its walls religious ceremonies were constant and offerings to the Gods and the Inca’s mummies were made each day. The temple was originally built with God Wiracocha as the main deity, but later was transformed by Inca to make the Sun god the main deity.

Symmetry across rooms

The symmetry and accuracy of some of the constructions are simply amazing. Just imagine this symmetry built 100’s of years ago, with the sophisticated tools we deploy today.

It also has rooms dedicated to revering the Moon, the Stars, Thunder, Rainbow etc… very interesting indeed.

Qorikancha means Gold Palace, and the original walls were covered with Gold.

We visited one of the archaeology sites the Sacsayhuaman ruins. Sacsayhuaman, was the huge “Inca Ceremonial Center of Sacsayhuaman”. Three levels of ramparts in a zigzag manner characterizes this monument, certainly was a huge fortess at its times.


This enormous structure overlooks the city of Cusco. Its constructions are amazing, with huge rocks perfectly fitted. I was really wondering how they could move such huge rocks in those days.

Size of the rocks

Our guide indicated that it took over 10,000 workers 50 years to build it. The origin of the temple of Sacsayhuaman is still today unknown. The archaeologist attributed its construction to the Period of the Inca Pachacutec (in the Inca language Pachacutec means either Cataclysm or He who transforms the world), the man essentially credited with founding the Inca Empire. Whatever, be the stories, it was an interesting site.

Zig Zag shaped fortess

After the short visit here, we were taken to another important Inca site known as “Qenqo”. This is a place with subterranean passages and carved stone channels in a zigzag pattern. In its inner part there is a carved stone table where it is said the Incas sacrificed living creatures possibly the Llamas.


Q´enqo was our final stop, after which we were dropped at the Plaza de Armas, where we had lunch at a restaurant facing the Cathedral. We were seated at a beautiful spot overlooking the cathedral. The view was simply marvellous and so was the food. I had a repeat of Chicken Saltado, which I had the chef specially prepare for me.

Market Place

After lunch we walked along the Ave de Sol, towards the marketplace that sold Peruvian goods and handicrafts. It was a nice colorful market and we all purchased gifts for friend there. We also saw a small exhibition of handicrafts where we took pictures of weavers.


We took some rest and then headed to see a Peruvian show. The show depicted some traditional dances from the Peru region and had some very colorful costumes worn by the artists.

Qorikancha by night

The show lasted for about 90 minutes after which we went for a very nice dinner at an exclusive place called called Chi Cha. Had some very tasty cocktails and the food was very upscale and delicious. It was surely a place that attracted many tourists, and was quite packed. Good we had reservations made in advance.

After a great dinner and a short walk, I took some night pictures at Plaza De Armas, and we called it a day.


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