Many tourists decide to stay several days in Cusco, visiting some of the many sights that this increasingly cosmopolitan city offers.
Mandatory stop before visiting Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley, Cusco is surrounded by natural wonders and impressive ancient ruins.
Due to its privileged location, and being the capital of the Inca Empire, Cusco is a reflection of different cultures and stages they went through the pre-Inca Peruvian history, Inca, Colonial and Republican.
Cusco was a sacred city and is currently the oldest inhabited city in the Americas. As a result, great architectural styles can be found here. Whether in monasteries and cathedrals, all the buildings reflect the cultural diversity of the city.
The Plaza de Armas is an ideal meeting point since is the center of excellent restaurants, bars and nightclubs in Cusco. Also there are lots of craft shops, which offer souvenirs made by local artisans.
The beautiful Cathedral and The Company, considered two of the most representative colonial churches in Cusco, frame the square. The stunning interior of the Cathedral is decorated with carved cedar and alder, drawing attention to the choir, the pulpit, the engravings on the altar, the paintings of important artists, and embossed silver works.
The San Blas neighborhood is one of the most picturesque of Cusco. Known as the Artisan neighborhood, is characterized by narrow streets and beautiful colonial style houses. It is essential to visit San Blas Church, in addition to the famous Stone of Twelve Angles, located a couple blocks from the Plaza de Armas, on Hatun Rumiyoc Street.
According to the chroniclers, Koricancha was one of the most impressive fortresses of the Incas Cusco. Being the main temple of the sun god, its walls were completely covered by gold leaf. Later, in 1534, the Spaniards built on it a Church and the Santo Domingo Convent. Currently you can observe in this convent the wonderful Inca architecture combined with Spanish architecture, constituting a sample of Peruvian mestizo culture.
Located just two kilometers from the city of Cuzco, the impressive fortress of Sacsayhuaman is worth visiting. An imposing example of Inca military architecture was built with huge blocks of granite (up to 5 meters high) to protect the city from east invaders´ attacks. This strength is composed of three large terraces which overlap in a zigzag, representing each of the levels of Inca religion: death, life and the gods.
Quenqo is located approximately 3 miles northeast of Cusco. Etymologically, Quenqo means labyrinth or zigzag, and indeed it is because of its narrow stone passages appearing to have been made to cause disorientation of anyone who dares cross them. However, Quenqo is considered a sacred place where ceremonies in honor of the sun, moon and stars.
The hill fortress of Pukapuka is just 6 miles from the city of Cusco. It consists of a small square in which are seen rooms, terraces, canals, constituting a military fort for admission to Tambomachay, located seven miles northeast of the city of Cusco. Due to its characteristics, it is presumed that this archaeological site was dedicated to the worship of water as a way to stimulate food production and for the head chief of the Incas Empire could rest.
Tipon, a beautiful set of agricultural terraces, long stairways, and canals carved in stone, is located about 20 miles southwest of the city. It is composed of twelve terraces bordered by stone walls, and huge perfectly polished platforms, which are quite large at the base and on the way up, are decreasing in size. In addition, you can see ingenious channels and ornamental waterfalls.