Cusco Vacations

Cusco: Capital of the Inca Empire

The Best Places Within The City of Cusco

Cusco is the historic capital of the Inca Empire.

Qosqo or Cusco also spelled Cusco, and in the local Quechua language as Qusquipa: is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley (Sacred Valley) of the Andes mountain range.

It is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cusco Province. The city has a population of 348,935 which is triple the figure of 20 years ago. Located on the eastern end of the Knot of Cusco, its altitude is around 3,300 m (10,800 ft) is one of the main touristic cities in Peru.


Temple “Koricancha”

One of finest, preserved works of Inca construction left to us is The Koricancha or Temple of the Sun. For centuries it was hidden behind a facade of clay making its existence unknown.

Built in the heart of Cusco it is its most beautiful building. Ransacked and stripped of it’s gold by the conquistadors in the 16th century the Spanish built their church of Santo Domingo on top of the superiorly constructed Koricancha. Both are still visible and can be visited. Today the walls of both temples complement and form a single structure. Koricancha is derived from the Quechua words: qori = gold and kancha= enclosure . It was the center and main shrine dedicated to the sun and therefore the most important and sacred templo for the Incas.

koricancha temple of the sun cusco peru


Plaza de Armas Cusco

Cusco’s Plaza de Armas is at the center of modern Cusco and is ringed by touristic restaurants, shops, museums and churches built in the same period of the conquest. During the Inca’s times the main square was more extensive than the current square.

It was the religious and administrative center of the empire. Around the square stood the palaces of Pachacutec Inca Huayna Capac and Viracocha. Also this is where almost all the festivals were celebrated including Inti Raymi, Huarachicuy, Amaru dance, Capac Raymi, etc. It was also where the main fairs and Inca army victories were celebrated.

Plaza de Armas Cusco peru


Inca Walls (Stone of 12 Angles)

Stone of twelve angles is located at Calle Hatum Rumiyoc (City of Cuzco).

Also know as the street leading up to San Blas. The walls built by the Inca stones are highly polished with high relief called “padding”. They were made to shine without coating or plaster. The stones of the walls could be of uniform size or form intricate designs resembling a “puzzle” with no two pieces alike.

Some blocks adopted somewhat capricious forms with irregular lines. The most famous is the “stone of 12 angles” with its straight sides that really shows the skill of the Inca’s stone workers.

Inca Walls Stone of 12 twelve Angles - Hatunrumiyoc

Sacsayhuaman Archaeological Complex

The complex comprises 33 archaeological sites, the best known of which is the Sacsayhuaman Fortress. The building was probably used for religious purposes but, due to its location and style, the Spanish and contemporary writers assumed it was a military structure. The consensus among historians suggests that the construction of Saqsayhuaman began at the end of the 14th century and the beginning of the 15th century, under the leadership of Inca Pachactueq. In terms of how long the construction took, contemporary references indicate it took around 60 years.

Saqsayhuaman would have held the most important temple in Hanan Qosqo or Upper Cuzco, dedicated to Andean cosmology, worship of the Inti (Sun), Quilla (Moon), Chaska (Stars), Illapa (Lightning) and the other divinities. The building qualifies as a cyclopean construction due to the size of its stones, some of which weigh between 90 and 128 tonnes. On 24 June each year, the fortress is the setting for the Inti Raymi or Festival of the Sun.

Sacsayhuaman Archaeological Complex