Cusco was not only the center of Tawantinsuyo, but also a city where different spaces fulfill a crucial role within the Andean universe. With the Spanish presence the city was changed, the Inca buildings were the basis for new buildings of the Spanish colony. The buildings that we admire today were in the past important Inca buildings.
The main square is surrounded by two churches: the Cathedral and the Church of La Compañía de Jesus, where are preserved wonderful paintings and vessels of silver and carved wood.
In the charming neighborhood of San Blas visit the local temple with its beautifully carved wooden pulpit. Other important churches in the city are La Merced, Santo Domingo and Santa Clara, built in the seventeenth century.
On a trip to Cusco cannot miss a visit to the Inca citadel of Machu Picchu, considered a Wonder of the World; also the Sacred Valley of the Incas (Urubamba). Other attractions are the salt mines of Maras and Moray, Sacsayhuaman Fortress and nearby ruins of Q’enko, Puka Pukara and Tambomachay.
Cusco nearby tourist attractions
Was the main religious building of the Incas dedicated to the worship of the sun, according to the chroniclers its interior walls were covered with gold, the “Convento de Santo Domingo” was built over this temple in 1534. Nowadays, the convent preserves an art gallery with paintings of the 17th and 18th centuries.
- Archaeological Site of Q’enko:
Built circa 1500, Q’enqo or “labyrinth” is considered a sacred place, ceremonies were held in honor of the Sun, the Moon, and stars.
- Archaeological Site of Pukapukara:
Has several rooms, inner plazas, aqueducts, watchtowers and roads; it would have served as a place to rest and shelter. According to tradition, when the Inca was visiting Tambomachay, his huge entourage stayed in Pukapukara.
- Archaeological site of Tambomachay:
Had an important function related to water and land regeneration. It is estimated that it was built around 1500 in close connection with Pukapukara. The site has an area of approximately 0.5 hectares and the material used for its construction was limestone.
- Archaeological site of Sacsayhuaman:
Located 2 km. north of the city of Cuzco, extends over an area of 3,093 hectares. The complex has 33 archaeological sites, the most famous is Fortress Sacsayhuaman, and its main feature is the size of the stones, some of them have a weight between 90 and 128 tons.
- Village of Chincheros:
Located in the valley of the Urubamba, the church was built during the Spanish colony; it can be appreciated paintings of Cuzco School. On Sundays takes place the local fair, where traders and farmers exchange their products.
- Salt Mines of Maras:
Salt ponds used since the times of the Incas. The saline water that flows from the ground is channeled into ponds, then, by effects of the sun the water evaporates leaving the salt on the surface. The view is spectacular, about 3000 ponds of different shades of white, brown and pink.
- Moray Archaeological Complex:
The place was an important center of agricultural experimentation; the Incas were able to create different microclimates through the construction of circular platforms, to produce a wide variety of crops. Here, the Incas would have repeated all ecological zones of the Empire.
- Archaeological Complex of Ollantaytambo:
Located 60 km northwest of the city of Cusco at an altitude of 2,792 m and covers 600 hectares. It was built during the Inca era, a fortified area that includes a temple, agricultural terraces, and an urban sector. It was an important administrative center; and perhaps had military functions as shown by walls and towers.
- Historic Sanctuary of Machu Picchu:
Machu Picchu is one of the world’s most important archaeological jewels; 130 km from the city of Cuzco, the citadel is located on the top of mountain Machu Picchu (Old Mountain). Discovered on July 24th 1911 by Hiram Bingham, recognized in 1983 as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and was declared a World Wonder on July 7th 2007.
Picturesque village and important archaeological site 32km to the northeast of Cusco, it is the gateway to the Urubamba Valley. The fortress of Pisac guarded the capital of the empire; on top is the Intihuatana (solar clock) and Inca walls in perfect conditions. In the village; you can see the colonial church, where until now the traditional mass is held in Quechua; and visit the colorful local market.