The city of Cusco is located in the southeast area of Peru, 3,300 meters above sea level. Thanks to its glorious past, it is a city full of history and cultural mix. For this reason it has been named "Cultural Heritage of the Nation" and "Tourist Capital of Peru."
The historical richness of Cusco dates back to pre-Inca times, however, it is best known as the capital of the Inca Empire, which accounted for an administrative, religious and military center. For this reason tourists can visit many archaeological sites of various kinds, with splendid architectural styles, reflecting the diversity of cultural influences in the city.
Cusco’s Main Square, also known as “Plaza de Armas” in Spanish, is the most popular meeting area in the city. It is surrounded with several important landmarks such as the water fountain and other important colonial churches. During Inca times it was an important spot for celebrations. When visiting the Main Square, you will find the Cathedral. It has a magnificent Renaissance style. The interior is decorated with cedar and alder wood carvings. It houses 400 paintings from Cusco School, painted by mestizo artists.
It is the most famous archaeological site in the city of Cusco. Also known as “The Temple of the Sun”, it was the most magnificent sanctuary in the Inca Empire, where they worshiped the sun god. There were hundreds of panels that lined the walls of gold and natural-size figures of solid gold. After the Spanish soldiers arrived, the temple was partially destroyed to build the convent of Santo Domingo in the seventeenth century. Today there are four original vaults of the Inca temple, where you can appreciate the advanced earthquake engineering and architecture used by the Incas.
San Blas is Cusco's artistic neighborhood, as it offers one of the finest art galleries and artists' studios and artisans' workshops. People like to walk around as they can enjoy spectacular panoramic vistas from the city. Another interesting spot to visit in the area is San Blas church, the oldest parish in Cusco, some say. It is located a few blocks away from the Main Square.
It is an Incan impressive religious complex, located two kilometres away from Cusco city. It is built with colossal stone blocks that were transported from the neighboring mountains. The Incas called it 'the House of the Sun', however it became known as a 'fortress' when the Spanish arrived, due to its zigzag shape. Every 24th of June, local inhabitants and tourists from all over the world celebrate the 'Festival of the Sun' or 'Inti Raymi' in this area.
Qenqo, which means labyrinth in quechua, is an amphitheatre located 5 minutes away from Cusco. It was used a sanctuary, dedicated to worship fertility some say. The fortress of Puca Pucara is 6 kilometers from Cusco city and was used as a checkpoint or strategic watchtower on the Inca road. It was also used as a military and administrative centre. Tambomachay is an archaeological complex located 7 kilometers from Cusco, known as the 'Incas' baths'. Historians think it was an important center used to worship water, as it is made of stone canals, walls and windows.
Exhibition of religious art works of the colonial time; located in the Arzobispal Palace, a beautiful colonial building. Built on the real palace of the Inca Sinchi Roca.
Address: Corner of streets Hatunrumiyoc and Herejes.
Opens: from 9am to 12:30pm and from 3:00 pm to 5:30, Mondays to Saturdays.
The work exhibited in this museum summarizes the feeling and artistic sensibilities of the men of Pre-Columbian Peru.
Address: Casa Cabrera, Plazoleta Nazarenas, Cusco.
Opens: from 9am to 11pm every day.
Exhibition of painting murals and canvases of the colonial time.
Address: Plazoleta Santa Catalina.
Opens: from 8am to 6pm, Mondays to Saturdays.
Founded in 1984, occupies the house of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega. It offers an exhibition of pictorial works of Cusco Art School. The house was declared National Monument.
Address: Casa Garcilaso, Cuesta del Almirante.
Opens: from 9am to 6pm, Mondays to Saturdays; from 9am to noon on Sunday.