ay or night, Cusco
is a city full of charisma and attractions. Mornings are ideal for strolling through its streets, visiting its churches, wandering about the artisan quarter of San Blas or going to the towns and archeological remains in the surrounding countryside.
At night, when the city is dressed up in light, discos, pubs and restaurants are the main attractions. Cusco'
s night life
offers you a wide variety of places to go out and enjoy yourself, satisfying even the most different demands.
Being in Cusco,
visits to the city's Churches and Convents, and the nearby archeological sites as Machu Picchu
and Ollantaytambo are a must.
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The Cathedral of Cusco
CHURCHES AND CONVENTS
originally built inside the Inca structure of the Suntur Wasi (currently the Church of El Triunfo). Years later, the Cathedral was ordered to be rebuilt in the Kiswarcancha (Palace of Inca Wiracocha).
The Church and Convent of Santo Domingo
are, without doubt, amongst the most beautiful examples of Spanish architecture superimposed on Inca constructions to be found in Cusco.
This complex was built over the Qoricancha or Korikancha, meaning the Temple of the Sun.
La Compañía de Jesus, or Jesuit Cathedral,
is a splendid stone construction housing, amongst other treasures, a collection of unique paintings. It was built over what was formerly the Amaru Cancha ("Fence of the Serpent") close to Cusco's
The Church and Convent of La Merced,
built in 1536, is famous as the home of the shrine of Our Lady of La Merced, decorated with gold and precious stones.
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The sites surrounding Cusco, such as Machu Picchu,
Saqsaywaman and Ollantaytambo, are, due to their grandeur and perfection, archaeological jewels which reflect the greatness of Andean man.
located in the province of Urubamba, close to the Collpani valley, at an altitude of 2,330 masl, and surrounded by exuberant vegetation, adorned by the most diverse and colorful orchids, Machu Picchu was discovered by Hiram Bingham in 1911. Some scientists believe that Machu Picchu was a fortress; others, that it was a citadel or monastery.
What is beyond doubt however, is the skill of the Inca architects who built it. Machu Picchu has clearly differentiated sectors, such as an agricultural area, squares, living quarters, watchtowers, observatories, and a sundial, amongst others.
The trapezoidal doors and windows stand out
, as do the roofs, which have one or two sides, and which, in Inca times, were covered with tree trunks and "ichu" (a local straw). Due to its unique archaeological value, UNESCO has declared Machu Picchu Cultural Patrimony of Humanity.To get to the site, you must take a three hour train ride to Aguas Calientes
, a small town at the foot of the mountain where Machu Picchu is situated, and then a 30 minute bus ride up the mountain. If you are a trekking enthusiast you can reach the citadel on a four-day trek along an ancient roadway, the Inca Trail.
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Sacsayhuaman Archaeological Park
Sacsayhuaman covers an area of 3,000 hectares, two kilometers north of Cusco
. The site is considered unique in the world due to its singular architectural characteristics.
In building Sacsayhuaman
, the Incas used stone blocks of up to 9 meters high and 5 meters wide, each fitting perfectly with the other. The fortress has an area of approximately 360 meters and has doors, galleries and watchtowers at strategic points.
Apart from the fortress of Sacsayhuaman
, the archeological park also contains the sites of Q'Enqo or Kenko ("labyrinth"), a center for ceremonies worshipping the Pachamama ("mother earth"); the Puca Pucara or "Red Fort" and Tambomachay or the Inca Bath, built to worship the element of Water.
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97 kms. from Cusco
, was an administrative, social, religious and agricultural center in Inca times.
The site, and the town of the same name, is a must-see amongst the many sites of interest along the Sacred Valley of the Incas. The valley runs along the banks of the Urubamba or, in Quechua, "Wilcamayu" River.
It's astounding natural beauty is further accentuated and embellished by the many pre-Hispanic ruins found all along its course.
The Sacred Valley of the Incas is comprised of the towns of Pisaq (32 kilometers from Cusco
) where there is a pre-Colombian settlement and stepped terraces; Calca (50 kilometers from Cusco
), famous for the sulfurous thermal-medicinal springs of Machacancha ; Yucay, where the advanced agricultural engineering skills of the Incas can be appreciated; and Urubamba, the heart of the valley, and ideal for adventure tourism.