The Mysteries of Machu Picchu
Since its discovery in the early 20th century, Machu Picchu has taken off as a world destination, being named year after year as a best travel destination and one of...
Cusco, capital of the Inca Empire and starting point to visit the incredible citadel of Machu Picchu, is a place that radiate history in every corner. Everyday, thousand of tourists arrive to this Peruvian city and they are astonished by the beauty of its streets and the great Inca legacy, which is still alive.
All those who come to Cusco would like to stay longer, because the city has many places to know. We want to help you to know the most historical and iconic places of the city. For this reason, in this post we tell you the 5 best things to do in your travel to Cusco.
Plaza de Armas
The best place to start your visit to Cusco is the historic Plaza de Armas. When the Incas arrived in the imperial city, the square was no more than a swamp. The Inca Sinchi Roca ordered its drying and the Inca Pachacútec finished this work and established here the administrative, religious and cultural center of the whole Tahuantinsuyo.
With the Spanish arrival, this place became the main meeting point of the conquerors. Here they established their residence and they built their mansions, cathedrals and temples on the remains of the Inca palaces. Afterward, in this same place, the Spanish ordered the execution of Tupac Amaru II.
Nowadays, the Plaza de Armas continues to play the leading role in the city of Cusco. There you can find from tourist guides where you can hire your excursions around the city to shops, cafes and restaurants where you can enjoy Peruvian cuisine and crafts.
Qorikancha was the religious, political and geographic center of Cusco and its name, which in Quechua means “fenced place containing gold”, is because this construction was completely covered with gold both outside and inside. When the Spanish conquerors arrived and discovered this building, they took away all the gold plates of it and destroyed the temple leaving practically only the base, on which they built the current Convent of San Francisco.
Undoubtedly, Qorikancha is one of the places with more history of the entire capital of the Inca Empire and it is the living image of what the conquest meant for the city of Cusco.
Address: Santo Domingo s/n
Hours: Monday to Saturday from 8:30 a. m. to 5:30 p. m.
Price: ticket included in the tourist ticket of Cusco.
Twelve Angle Stone
Only one stone is needed to demonstrate the advanced knowledge of the Inca architecture: the twelve angles stone. Located in the narrow street of Hatun Rumiyoc, in the center of Cusco just a few blocks from the Plaza de Armas, this large rock is nestled in one of the Inca walls that are still maintained in the city. The impressive thing about this stone is its perfect finish and, of course, its 12 angles that fit perfectly and without any mortar with the stones that surround it.
In Inca times, the wall of which this stone is part belonged to the Inca Roca residence, a place that, with the arrival of the conquerors, became the seat of the Archbishop’s Palace in Cusco.
Mirador and neighborhood of San Blas
One of the main tourist areas of Cusco is the neighborhood of San Blas, a set of streets with steep slopes that show the best of the art from Cusco. Both day and night, this place is full of charm and places to know. We recommend you to visit its shops and workshops, where history is told through the works of artists and artisans from the city.
It is also the perfect place to enjoy good food accompanied by typical Andean music. To end the visit, it is essential to reach the viewpoint or “mirador” of San Blas, enclave where you can capture one of the best panoramic views of the entire city.
In the city of Cusco there are countless museums that tell the history of this place from its founding to the present from different points of view: culture, gastronomy, art…
If you are the type of tourist who like to know every detail of the history, we recommend you to visit places like the Museum of Pre-Columbian Art or the Regional Historical Museum. If, on the other hand, you prefer to immerse yourself in some unique galleries, here is a tour of the 5 most original museums in Cusco.
If you visit the capital of the Inca Empire for the first time, you can not miss these five essentials. Enjoy your visit to the fullest, because Cusco is one of those places where you feel that time flies and you always want to return to continue touring its streets and knowing every detail of its history.