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Cuzco: La Ciudad Imperial (The Imperial City)

Cuzco: La Ciudad Imperial (The Imperial City)


 The city Cuzco is the capital of the Cuzco Province and Inca Empire and resides in the southeastern part of Peru. The city is elevated from the Knot of Cuzco (its eastern end) by 11,200 ft (3,400m). The city is populated with over 358,935 inhabitants. UNESCO declared the city as a World Heritage Site in the year 1983. The city is among the most visited sites of Peru as over 2 million visit this place in a year. Even the Constitution of Peru has Cuzco as its Historical Capital. The world famous battle of Pizarro’s men and Inca was fought in the area in 1536 which surrounds the city. Still some remains of the battle can be found there, the most remarkable ruin is Sacsayhuaman. The whole city was shaped as a figure of Puma which is a scared animal. There are two sections in the city, namely urin and hanan. These two sections are further divided into four provinces, Qullasuyu (SE), Kuntisuyu (SW), Antisuyu (NE) and Chinchasuyu (NW). These quarters are designed in such a way that a road from any of these provinces will led you to the quarter of the empire. When the rule of Pachacuti ended and Inca died, his son became the emperor and the process of split inheritance was done as the property was distributed to the relatives. It is compulsory for each leader to build a home in the city.

Machu Picchu, Peru

As per the Inca legend, Sapa Inca Pachacuti builds the whole city and made the city a wide empire of Tawantinsuyu. The city plan was so unique. There are two rivers which are channeled across the city and this plan is replicated around the whole city. In 1933, the city earned the title of the Archeological Capital of the Americas by the Congress of Americanists in La Plata. Cusco was declared as the Cultural Heritage of the World in 1978 by the 7th Convention of Mayors of Great Cities of the World which was being held in Milan. The city earned the title of Cultural Heritage of the Nation by the Peruvian government. It is also the Tourism Capital of Peru. The major attraction of Cuzco is Machu Picchu which is now one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The sight of this monument is very enduring as the structure is very attractive. People say that in 1535 Pizarro, the Spanish explorer sacked the Inca city including the palace of Inca. The remains of this palace is still there in the Temple of the Virgins of the Sun and the Temple of Sun (Qurikancha). These two temples also grab much of tourist attraction.

goldern palace

The Qurikancha, which is also known as the Golden Palace of Cuzco, was built centuries before during the Inca Empire. As said before this temple is dedicated to the Sun God. The presence of a huge solid golden disc, with some embedded beautiful stones made the place more attractive. This golden disk is dedicated to the Inca Sun God (Inti). Garcilaso De La Vega, the Chronicler, wrote some ancient chronicles about this sun temple. In these chronicles, the garden before the temple was described as a scared place with trees and plants with silver stems, 20 life size gold llamas, leaves coated with gold, golden herders and solid gold corn cobs. The sight is this garden is heavenly. But the Spanish invaders destroyed the temple as they wanted to take the city’s wealth, shrines and idolaters. Today, the remains of the inner temple and the outer walls are recognizable.


In 1539, the Iglesiadel Triunfo cathedral was build on the grounds of the Place of Viracocha in Inca. This is the first cathedral of Cusco. The Cathedral of Santo Domingo is the most popular among the Spanish colonial buildings. This cathedral is known for its beautiful collection of arts and paintings. People visit this cathedral for its Cuzco School paintings which is a very different style of paintings. The paintings of many local artists of the city are in the collection. Two most famous Cuzco School paintings are the “Twelve Apostles” which is a traditional Andean delicacy depicting a guinea pig and the “Last Supper” which has a painting of Jesus in it. The Cathedral of Santo Domingo is the bench of Archdiocese of Cuzco. The whole cathedral is decorated with Baroque, Plateresque and late-Gothic interiors with Renaissance style. This cathedral even exceeds the height of many other tall buildings in Cuzco, having one baroque tower.


This World Heritage Site has many other beautiful sights. The most picturesque site, Barrio de San Blas, is very famous among tourists. You will find many tourists clicking themselves and their friends with its beautiful background. Many old houses were still situated there with narrow and steep streets which are said to be built by the Spanish. The Parish church is the oldest church of Cuzco and it is accompanied by a very attractive square. Another street, Hatun Rumiyog, is also the most visited place of tourists. This street is commonly referred as the one with the big stone. This street was located in the Inca Roca. On the way there are places like Barrio de San Blas, Plaza de Armas and the most popular the Stones of Twelve Angle which is the so called big stone. Other must visit place is the Convent and Church of la Merced which is dedicated to the god of Inca. In the entire city is a beautiful place with a large collection of preserved colonial architecture and complex mysterious history.

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