Cusco was the main city and capital of the Inca Empire, one of the largest civilizations of the American continent, and was declared a UNESCO city in 1983.
Walking through the streets of Cusco is to walk towards history, where the Incas designed magnificent buildings and where you can still experience some of their ancient cultural manifestations. It is a safe city, and if you stay in the areas around the Plaza de Armas you can walk alone even at night without problems.
It is a city where the mixture of two cultures is alive, with the arrival of the Spaniards the fusion was obvious, getting to build enormous colonial churches on the temples and Inca buildings. The mixture is evident in each street and creates an international and vibrant city where you can experience what life is like in the middle of the Andes mountains. There are to much things to do in Cusco, and make your trip unforgettable.
Things to do in Cusco
- The Main Square and the Cathedral of Cusco
The Plaza de Armas of Cuzco is the heart of modern Cusco. A place full of restaurants, shops, churches and buildings from the time of the Spanish conquest.
Located in the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral of Cuzco is the main religious temple of Cuzco. It was built with stones brought from Sacsayhuaman and it took more than 100 years to build it (between 1560 and 1664).
Two kilometers north of Cuzco is located this unique Inca fortress in the world. Considered the greatest architectural work of the Incas, it was built during its heyday between the 15th and 16th centuries.
3. Qorikancha and the Convent of Santo Domingo.
Qorikancha, known as the Golden Temple (its walls were covered by sheets of gold), is the base on which the convent of Santo Domingo was built.
4. San Pedro Market or Central Market.
The largest supply center in the city, has been serving since 1925, being one of the oldest in Cuzco.
5. Stone of the 12 angles.
The most famous stone block in the city, is considered the Cultural Patrimony of the Nation of Peru, and forms part of the Archbishop’s Palace wall.
6. The Incas’ Sacred Valley.
The magical Sacred Valley of the Incas is a mixture of archaeological remains, indigenous peoples and varied mountain landscapes.
My favorites to visit in the Sacred Valley are:
- Salinas de maras: It is said that the Incas began to harvest the salt that reaches this area more than 1000 years ago, harvesting techniques have not changed much and the more than 3000 pools are still handled by hand by the families that collect the salt of the ponds in a community-based system.
- Moray: The agricultural terraces are designed in circular levels that give the place a unique layout compared to other archaeological sites in the area. Some experts consider that this place was an experimental laboratory, where the Incas planted crops at different levels finding a relationship between the depth of the terrace and the climatic conditions at different altitudes in the area.
- Ollantaytambo: The most beautiful city to enjoy the beauty of the valley, make a stop between your visit to Cusco and Machu Picchu. It is to have beautiful trails for trekking, walking through the village or just reading with a beautiful landscape and a relaxing environment.