October 14, 2010 § 2 Comments
The City of Cusco holds within it an incredible amount of history, architecture, art. During the 15th Century Cusco was the capital of the Incan Empire, a realm which and one time spanned over most of the west coast of South America including Ecuador to the north, Peru, Bolivia and into parts of Chile and Argentina to the South. Today Cusco is the tourism capital of Peru with nearly 1 million visitors per year arriving to get a glimpse at the magnificent realm of the Incas.
Arriving to the city of Cusco you will find a fascinating city full of history. The city was first founded by the Killke Culture between 900 – 1200 AD. The Killke constructed stone temples, aqueducts and a roadway system through the area. When the Incas arrived in the 13th century they expanded on the Killke structures and made Cusco their own. During the Inca rule huge stone structures covered Cusco and the surrounding areas. Rivers were diverted and Cusco became their capital.
The Incas were incredible engineers and stone masons. Inca architecture is the most significant pre-Colombian architecture in South America. Cusco has many examples of Inca architecture featuring the classic precisely cut stones closely fitted together without mortar.
When the conquistadors arrived in the 1500’s they like the Incas before them built upon the previous structures and transformed Cusco into the “Very great and noble city of Cusco” it was from Cusco that they spread the word of Christianity to the Andean World. Incan Temples would become the base for Catholic Churches, palaces would become mansions for the new inhabitants.
As adventure travel has grown in popularity over the past 20 years, with it Cusco has grown into a full service town with almost anything the traveler could want. The Cusco Airport offers easy access around Peru and into neighboring Boliva and the train links Cusco with Lake Titicaca to the South and the Lost City of the Incas – Machu Picchu – to the north.
Today in Cusco there are Incan walls and the Foundations of Inca structures as well as cobblestone streets, large central plazas with flowers and fountains, red-tiled roofs and numerous churches all built during Spanish Rule all combining to make Cusco one of the most interesting places to visit in South America.