Cusco, Peru was the center (or navel) of the Incan Empire. All roads led to Cusco. This center of power and religion was eventually conquered by the Spanish and so many of the beautiful Incan buildings were either torn down or catholic buildings were built on top of them. However, the amazing Incan history is now being displayed beautifully alongside the newer Spanish influences. The striking blend of Quechua & Spanish cultures are visible in so many parts of this city from the architecture to the food to the textiles your eyes are never bored.
We first arrived to Lima, but weren’t to the hotel until almost midnight, so we didn’t get to experience it until the end of our trip. We woke up early and had to hop on another plane from Lima to Cusco! It was so cool to be able to see the Andes, for the first time, from the air. It was a gorgeous site.
This was my first view of Cusco after leaving the airport, but I loved the beautiful, simple houses painted varying colors scattered across the dusty foothills.
We made our way from our hostel towards Plaza de Armas. We passed many brightly colored murals depicting pieces of Cuscos past and present.
Qurikancha is a really interesting site. This was once one of the greatest temples to the Inca Empire- Inti Wasi. This building was once covered in gold and was the Temple of the Sun in the Capital of the Empire. When the Spanish conquered Cusco, however, they tore down the top of the temple, stole the gold and built The Church of Santa Domingo on the foundations.
Earlier this year while doing construction original Inca roads were found buried under ground!
Plaza de Armas
Iglesia de La Compañía de Jesús
Fountain with Statue of Pachacutec in Plaza de Armas
Years of prayers and dreams
Vintage bugs were all over Peru. This was one of my favorites… one of my favorite colors!
We had a little family meal our first day in Cusco with the other members of our trekking team! This is where I tried cuy! It was actually quite good. Very tender and had the flavor of brisket! Although, the shape creeped me out, I was proud of myself for trying something so uniquely Peruvian!
Sacsaywamán (sounds like sexy woman) is an archaeological site that sits right above Cusco
Cristo Blanco looking over Cusco
Plaza de Armas and Terra-cotta-colored roofs from above
Looking out over Cusco and the Andes. Pure Bliss.
Courtyard of Museo Inka
Museo Inka was a cool but sometimes kitschy museum just off Plaza de Armas. I’m glad that we went after visiting Machu Picchu because it filled in some of the blanks we had about particular things we saw. There were photos from Hiram Bingham’s expeditions, an osteology exhibit, and many different artifacts as well as information about the life of the Incas (these were some of the kitschy parts). The entrance fee was only 10 soles (less than $3.50) and totally worth it. Be sure to check it out!
The main market where Stacey and I spent quite a bit of time and quite a few soles!
Cusco is still very much the Center of the Incan world. You stop there on the way to the Sacred Valley and Machu Picchu. You learn about sites and history here from the museums excavations still occurring. You can’t miss Cusco and all the vibrancy of this culture!
To keep up with my travels in real-time and read more posts and travel articles I find interesting ‘like’ the For the Love of Wanderlust page on Facebook. Simply click HERE.