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Cusco: A Colonial-Inca City with history, magic and more for everyone

22 January 2015 (1551 reads)

Cusco: A Colonial-Inca City with history, magic and more for everyone

Into the diary "Nuevo Herald" in spanish, the writers of Giuliana Nanetii & Luis E. Palacios wrote about the beautiful landscapes in Cusco and many other things that you can visit in this attractive city, as their archaeological complexes: Machu Picchu, Ollantaytambo, Pisaq, Sacred Valley, Tipon and many more.

 

Here is a little extract of this article on englis 'cause the whole article is in spanish:

 

"There are so many attractions in Cusco, such as streets, squares, churches, archaeological remains, restaurants and markets. The impression for the visitors is that it is a magical city. The traveler plan when your stay visiting the greatness of the Sacred Valley and Sacsayhuaman and of course, legends and mysteries of the majestic Machu Picchu, but unforgettable memories of cobblestone streets also takes flanked by colonial buildings erected on structures indigenous stone, churches and squares, and the charm of its inhabitants.

 

If you want more, please read down there the words in spanish!!

 

The ancient capital of the Inca empire was declared a World Heritage Site by Unesco in 1983 and is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Peru. The city has it all, from its elegant buildings with colonial balconies and wide plazas with ornate fountains, to churches with altars and pulpits with rich wood carvings and museums and ruins at every turn. The city, declared in the Peruvian Constitution as the "historical capital of the country", is located in the southeast of Peru, the eastern part of the Andes Mountains. Formerly it was the capital of the Inca Empire and one of the most important cities of the Viceroyalty of Peru.


Cusco was the capital and seat of the imperial government and was the most important city in the Andes and South America, becoming the main cultural focus and axis of religious worship. The Spanish conquerors took the capital of the empire and, on March 23, 1534, Francisco Pizarro founded the City of Cusco in the Spanish style, establishing as Plaza de Armas the location that still maintains the modern city and which was also the main square during the incanato, surrounded by the palaces of those who were the Inca sovereigns. Construction of the cathedral began on the site facing north. Pizarro gave the city the name of Cusco, Noble and Great City.


The conquerors, in their attempt to crush the Quechua culture and subjugate it, raised their main buildings, temples and residences on the bases of the imposing constructions of the imperial city, but this could not hide the greatness of the conquered, who continued to leave their their own stamp on their work as artisans and artists.

 

Among the most outstanding points to visit in Cusco, is its Cathedral. Actually, the first cathedral in the city is the Iglesia del Triunfo, built in 1539 on the basis of the palace of Viracocha Inca. Currently, this church is an auxiliary chapel of the Cathedral, which was built between 1560 and 1664 on the Sunturwasi (house of the condor). The construction was made with stones extracted from Inca buildings and from nearby quarries, and granite blocks from the Sacsayhuamán complex. The cathedral has samples of colonial goldsmithing and carved wooden altars, mostly created by native artisans. It also has important canvases from the so-called Cusco School. In the place a monolith that represents the god Viracocha is preserved.

 

The Plaza Mayor of Cusco was an important meeting place in pre-Hispanic times and included what is now known as Plazoleta del Regocijo and Plaza San Francisco. The Spanish added buildings with a stone archway, raised with local labor that is still preserved. The Plaza is surrounded by the Cathedral of Cusco and the Temple of the Company of Jesus, built on ancient Inca buildings. Here they celebrate part of the Inti Raymi festival, the festival of the sun on June 24; the Corpus Christi festivities, processions of Catholic saints; the patron saint festivals of the city, and every Sunday the raising of the flags of Cusco and Peru and commemorative marches.


The Church of the Company of Jesus in Cusco, built by the Jesuits in 1576 on the Palace of the Inca Huayna Cápac, is an important sample of the colonial baroque of the American continent. Its façade is made of carved stone and its main altar, also made of carved wood, is covered with gold leaf. The temple also has an important collection of canvases from the Cusqueña School.

 

The Qorikancha was the most important sanctuary dedicated to the Sun god at the time of the Empire and according to the legends its walls had been covered with gold sheets. The Convent of Santo Domingo was built here, and inside there are Inca walls and, in the center, a monolith, as well as an important collection of paintings from the Cusqueña School. The Convent and Church of La Merced were built in 1536, and went through different reconstruction processes after several earthquakes. The temple has wooden carvings and colonial paintings, as well as a custody of gold and precious stones weighing 22 kilos and 130 centimeters high. In addition to these buildings, the influence of the native Quechuas and the conquerors is manifested throughout the city through different architectural projects that try to recover the identity of the capital of the empire.

 

The JW Marriott El Convento Cusco hotel, our host, was built thanks to a project to rescue the remains of pre-Hispanic and Spanish cultures. The hotel stands on the main patio of the cloister of an Augustinian convent, which in turn was built on Inca walls. The convent had been abandoned when the order was expelled after the independence of Peru and suffered earthquakes and popular riots in the 19th century, to later house a chocolate factory and bakeries until the 1970s.


Now, its reception greets visitors with an imposing wall covered by a cascade of Swarovski crystals that represents the Quechua god Inti. The luxurious hotel, after a reconstruction that cost $56 million and took six years, includes the original arcades of the convent and pre-Hispanic walls, which are now part of the construction of the place. Nothing better to start touring the city than this hotel, which offers guided tours of its facilities. Among its attractions the hotel has the Pirqa restaurant, where you can enjoy the best of Peruvian food, and the Qespi bar. In the latter two, the hotel offers demonstrations of local cooking and a seminar on pisco, Peru's national drink, as well as attractions for children. The hotel is located in the heart of the historic district of Cusco, two blocks from the Plaza Mayor and a short distance from dozens of archaeological sites and three hours by train from the sanctuary of Machu Picchu.

 

For visits to Machu Picchu, Sacsayhuamán, the Sacred Valley of the Incas and the most important places in the city, we have the services of a guide. Our guide was Cris Vera, a professional from Cusco, with studies in archeology and extensive knowledge of history, who at all times showed us great respect and passion for the heritage of his people.

Our visit to Machu Picchu and the other archaeological monuments was accompanied by clear explanations about the customs of the inhabitants of those places and the amazing construction techniques they used. But beyond the amazement and admiration for the monuments, the city of Cusco dazzles the visitor with its mixture of cultures, the beauty of its streets and the warmth of its people.

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