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Cuzco

Country
Peru
State
Departamento Arequipa
City
Cuzco
Type of Location
Multiple
About Location

Cuzco located in the Southern Sierras is a fascinating city that was the capital of the Incan Empire. Cuzco is a Unesco World Heritage Site and is one of Peru's most visited cities as it is the largest and most comfortable city from which tourists can begin visits to Machu Picchu, the Sacred Valley of the Incas, and other Incan sites in the region.
 



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How to Reach

By plane

The closest main international airport is Lima. The airport is at the edge of the city (taxi ride). There are daily internal flights to and from Lima, Arequipa and small jungle airstrips in the Amazon basin. Lan Peru has the most flights to/from Cusco and Lima followed by Star Peru and Taca. It is best to book the earlier flights to avoid weather delays and overbooking.

By bus

The Terminal Terrestre is about a 20 minute walk down the Av. Sol. You can also take a taxi for a few soles.Buses are plentiful from other Peruvian cities like Lima (about 24 hours), Puno (6-8 hours), Arequipa (10 hours, 20 soles), Nazca (14-16 hours) etc, but are quite long and slow, although the views can compensate. The main roads are quite good, but some can be bad, making trips take longer than expected.

By rail

Cuzco is connected to Machu Picchu and Puno by rail. Rail service was recently discontinued to Arequipa. This service is operated by PeruRai

Key places to visit
Qoricancha, Museo del Sitio del Qoricancha, Museo Municipal de Arte Contemporaneo, Galleries, Plaza de Armas, Coricancha and Convent of Santo Domingo


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Places to Visit

Qoricancha

The Sun Temple, was the central site of worship for the Incas. Like so many other testimonies of Inca fantastic architecture it was severely devastated by the conquistadores, the Spanish conquerors, who built their Christian church, Santo Domingo, on top of the ruins. Yet most of the bottom part of the temple is fairly well preserved and makes the site worth several hours of your time, and is one of the best in Cuzco, or Qosqo in the Quechua language, containing both Catholic and Inca heritage with stunning views of the surrounding area. Viewing the outside from Avenida del Sol you get a perfect view of the church standing on the temple and to see the differences of the Inca and the Spanish way of building. Qoricancha also is the starting point of the yearly processions at Inti Raymi, the Sun Festival, to the rememberance of the Inca tradition of celebrating the winter solstice. This procession then moves all the way up to Saxayhuamán. In order to understand, especially the remarkable remains in the Inca section, a guided tour is advisable. Located 4 blocks from Plaza de Armas on Av. El Sol. Admission 10 soles.

Museo del Sitio del Qoricancha

Museo del Sitio del Qoricancha, With information about the different pre-Columbian cultures and fragments of ceramics and textiles of the Inca culture. A very small museum, the showcase room includes three mummies and skulls modified by the Incas with holes or sloped foreheads. Allow an hour to an hour and a half. English explanations are present but lacking.

Museo Municipal de Arte Contemporaneo

Museo Municipal de Arte Contemporaneo located in the Municipal Palace at Plaza Regocijo. Has exhibitions of contemporary art. Admission with the boleto turistico

Galleries

The stunning scenery of the Cuzco area are often very well depicted by local artists. It is possible to find cheap prints that are of surprisingly good quality if you're prepared to shop around.
Santa Cat

Plaza de Armas

Known as the "Square of the warrior" in the Inca era, this plaza has been the scene of several important events in the history of this city, such as the proclamation by Francisco Pizarro in the conquest of Cuzco.Similarly, the Plaza de Armas was the scene of the death of Túpac Amaru II, considered the indigenous leader of the resistance.The Spanish built stone arcades around the plaza which endure to this day. The main cathedral and the Church of La Compañía both open directly onto the plaza.

Coricancha and Convent of Santo Domingo

The Coricancha (Quri Kancha) was the most important sanctuary dedicated to the Sun god Inti at the time of the Inca Empire. This temple was named the site of gold because all its walls were covered with gold leaf by the Incas.With this structure as a foundation, colonists built the Convent of Santo Domingo, in the Renaissance style. The building, with one baroque tower, exceeds the height of many other buildings in this city.
Inside is a large collection of paintings from the Cuzco School.

Right Time to Visit

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