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Cusco, one of the best destination in South America
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Cusco: the best destination in South America

Maybe not yet decide whether to travel to Buenos Aires Argentina, Cartagena de Indias in Colombia or Cusco in Peru. Well here we will give you many good reasons to choose Cusco as your main destination in your trip to South America. Cusco is one of the few cities in the world that can make you feel the same chemical reactions that occur in a person when you fall in love. This has no scientific validity, as it is not confirmed by any study of any renowned university, that a person can fall in love with a city; But you can check it when you are in Cusco, you will feel butterflies in your stomach. And you may confuse the symptoms of altitude sickness with the excitement of being in Cusco.

Main Square of the Cusco
Main Square of the Cusco

Let yourself fall in love with the City of Cusco

Yes, we speak of love; The City of Cusco will lower your guard, get hooked and fall in love as a teenager. We could talk about dopamine, oxytocin, vasopressin, but not to complicate us with strange names, we say it better; When he is in Cusco, he will smile spontaneously, his eyes will shine and he will feel strong palpitations accompanied by an enormous sensation of happiness. Let yourself be seduced by the streets of Cusco, full of history and people who are proud of their roots, with a hospitality that will keep you intoxicated until the last minute… and more. You will feel a great desire to return to feel the magnetism and good vibe of the Navel of the World. And he will agree with us, that wanting to spend more time with the “object of desire” is a symptom of being in love.

The City of Cusco

Cusco is known as the “Navel of the World” and former capital of the Inca Empire. At present, it is one of the most important cities of Peru and one of the main, but the main destination of South America. The city of Cusco is famous for the grandiose legacy of its history. Who knows its history, does not repeat it (“optimistic” version of the quote of Paul Preston). When you investigate something more in the history of Cusco, you will realize that the people who live in Cusco, look at their future with hope and joy, taking into account each day, but not forgetting their past; Even after being almost destroyed by the “extirpators of idolatries”. While touring the city, the history of Cusco will pass in front of you in every street, square or corner. Cusco is known as the “Rome of America” and it is because as in the old European city, here the past and the present coexist “in the balance”

When you visit Cusco City Museum you will see Inca temples such as Coricancha, but also many colonial structures built on the central walls of Inca temples and palaces; The 13 churches, among which are some of the most beautiful in the world, such as the Cathedral of Cusco. Most of these buildings function as museums and cultural centers. The City of Cusco was the capital of the largest empire in the Western Hemisphere, and was sacred to the Incas. From that time to today, it is history and living culture of one of the continually populated, oldest cities of America.

The Origin of Cusco

They are very exciting cities that explain its origin with a legend, like Rome and the legend of Romulus and Remus. Stories of supernatural facts give him the riddle of enigma and mystery that inevitably ends up attracting. There are 2 legends that explain the origin of the capital of the Inca empire.

The legend of Manco Capac and Mama Ocllo tells that these brothers left Lake Titicaca, and that the Sun god gave them a scepter of gold, ordering them to found the empire of the Incas where the scepter would sink. It sank into the valley of Cusco, later known as the Sacred Valley of the Incas.

Another legend with which it is tried to explain the origin of the City of Cusco, is the legend of the Ayar brothers. This tells the story of 4 brothers and 4 sisters who left 3 caves on the hill Tamputoco, very close to Cusco. The treachery between them made Ayar manco the only survivor, and who would later found the City of Cusco in the company of his 4 wives (and sisters). One of the representations of this legend can be found in Machu Picchu; The Temple of the 3 windows represents the 3 caves from where the founders of Cusco left. The singularity of its origin explained with legends, gives Cusco an air of fascinating mystery.

Origin of the name of Cusco

Cusco (or Qosqo in Quechua) means “navel of the World” and was so named, because it was for a long time the most important city in South America; It boasted magnificent palaces and temples, besides a great power, political, cultural, religious and administrative; And everything happened in a short period of time. In only 200 years, the Incas went from being a small family caste to being the largest empire in the American continent; Reaching from the present Ecuador and the south of Colombia, passing through the mountain range of the Andes of Peru and Bolivia, to part of Chile and the north of Argentina. All the pre-Inca cultures that occupied the territory, were incorporated to the empire of the Incas.

Attractions of Cusco
Attractions of Cusco

The Flag of Cusco

The mixture of cultures and religions of people from all over the world has made Cusco one of the most cosmopolitan cities in the world. A tolerant and inclusive city, that gathers and accepts its diversity. Although the flag of Cusco can have many controversies, the truth is that it is inspired by the rainbow, one of the most incredible natural phenomena, but perhaps also in one of the most amazing places that exist in Cusco and the world, the strange And unique mountain of 7 colors. The rainbow was one of the most important deities for the Incas; This sacred god meant an enormous bridge that united peoples and cultures.

The Shield of Cusco (the Sun of Cusco)

The “sun” is the most powerful source of energy that exists and the Incas knew it, dedicated temples and worshiped it as their main god. We do not really know what to think about this, but for many people it is difficult not to fall in love with a city whose symbol is the Sun. The Sun of Cusco is beautiful; But we do not speak of the largest star in the solar system before which he lies down to tan, but of the shield of the City of Cusco; The shield of a city that was covered with gold to shine like the sun itself.

Curiosities of the City of Cusco

Touring the “little streets” of Cusco and learning something of its history, is not only one of the most amazing cultural experiences that exist, it is also very fun. The past of Cusco has some “moments” that Cusco would prefer not to remember. One of the stories told (reluctantly) tells the story of Huáscar, brother of the Inca Atahualpa, who allied himself with Francisco Pizarro and other settlers, contributing – without knowing, of course – to the fall and destruction of a knowledgeable civilization Ancestral and incalculable of the largest empire in the Western Hemisphere. Cusco is imperfectly perfect and there lies its beauty. You will be amazed with every corner and with every bit of information that reaches your ears.

Religious Syncretism in the Churches of Cusco

Religious syncretism in the structures and works of art of the churches of Cusco has given rise to some of the most astonishing works of the world. The Inca people were able to reconcile their own idiosyncrasy with that of their settlers. Although the extirpadores of idolatries did the possible thing to “extirpate” all trace of the Inca culture, to leave it hidden under the new city of Cusco; They did not make it. “The inhabitants, builders and artists of Cusco, were able to fuse and hide their own beliefs, within the beliefs and culture of the old world,” religious syncretism tell you. One of the most “obvious” examples of religious syncretism in Cusco is the painting of the last supper in the Cathedral of Cusco; In it can be observed Jesus and his disciples eating an Easter lamb? No, it is a Chinchilla (animal native to Peru).

Anecdotes of Cusco

The city of Cusco has some rather crazy anecdotes. The current pool of the center of the square of arms was installed in 1872, at the top of which a monument of an Inca sovereign was to be placed, but the story tells us that the company in charge of making the foundry sent by mistake to Cusco a statue representing a American Sioux Indian. This statue of the Sioux Indian was for several years on the central pool of the square until it was retired. There is even another story that tells that this monument was the image of Moctezuma (Aztec character) and that he had also been wrongly sent to Cusco and that the image of the Inca Atahualpa (which should have arrived) would be lost somewhere in Mexico. Currently on the pool is the figure of an Inca.

The Sioux Indian who mistakenly arrived in Cusco and rose for some time in the Plaza de Armas
The Sioux Indian who mistakenly arrived in Cusco and rose for some time in the Main Square

Myths and legends of Cusco

Cusco is a city of myths and legends. In Cusco there are many things that have not been able to explain either science or history. The amazing structures built with stones of more than 250 tons, perfectly fitted and brought from quarries many kilometers away, without knowing the existence of the wheel, makes speculate many theories about the Inca civilization. More than 30 theories have been formulated. But as in love, there are things that can not be understood or explained; However, this “not knowing” makes Cusco more mysterious, special and unique. Walking among stone structures that still do not know how they were built is something that can be done in many places of Cusco; As in Sacsayhuaman (one of the most mysterious places on the planet) Pisac or Machu Picchu.

Machu Picchu is a stone city built in an incredible natural environment and houses some of the most amazing constructions on the planet. Another thing, we think you should know, is that the Machu Picchu Tickets must be booked well in advance, here you can check the availability. Do not make the mistake of many people waiting to get to Cusco to buy tickets Machu Picchu, especially if it comes in high season, or if you want to ascend the Huayna Picchu mountain, since the Ticket Machu Picchu + Huayna Picchu should be booked 4 months before.

Duality and the Inca trilogy

The duality and the Inca trilogy is based on three animals: the snake, the puma and the condor. The ancient city of Cusco was traced taking into account the stars. Spiritual duality was so important to the Incas that it is possible that political and religious organization was also based on it. The Incas believed in 3, as a qualitative and absolute number, associated with the three worlds of the Andean worldview: the world above (condor), the world here (puma) and the world below (serpent). Cusco is absolutely amazing, the Incas designed the streets of their city, relying on the sun and stars.

Cusco: City in the shape of Puma

The old route of the city of Cusco had the form of a puma, where the head is Sacsayhuamán while the body was delineated with by the rivers that crossed the city. You have to use a lot of imagination to distinguish the puma in the maps of google maps; But if you have the opportunity to see old maps, you will see the silhouette of the city of Cusco in the form of a crouching feline (the Puma). But it is not the only Inca city with animal form, the Inca City of Machu Picchu, has the form of Condor.

Dark history the City of the Cusco

The Inca civilization had its own scandals, there were power struggles, domination, abuse of authority and some betrayals that led to the fall of one of the greatest empires in the world. The bad decisions and the fight between Huáscar and Atahualpa, made that they finished dead and that Pizarro finished conquering the City of the Cusco. A darker story is that of Tupac Amaru II, assassinated by the Spaniards, after trying “without success”, behead him with 4 horses pulling each of his limbs in the middle of the Main Square of the Cusco; No doubt an exemplary “sanction”; But this plaza has witnessed many more things that have marked the history of Cusco.


Advice from people who have been there


William MBy: William M

“Cusco enchanted me“

“Cusco is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful cities I have visited, to walk its narrow and steep streets, to see its fusion of architecture, to know its people; is the maximum, I love it, I would recommend it over and over and over again.“


By Ticket Machu Picchu – Last Update, 09-01-2017