Tuesday, August 9, 2016

Cusco - The Inca City

The fountain in the middle of the main plaza

The famous city of Cusco is an interesting mix of Spanish colonial architecture and, just outside the city, grand Inca constructions. The city itself was built over the Inca capital and so, sadly, much of the city's original form was destroyed by the Spanish.

The historic centre of the city begins at the Plaza de Armas, surrounded by churches and super touristy restaurants - including a Starbucks :'(. Despite this the main square is quite beautiful.

Plaza de Armas

Iglesia de la compania de Jesus


The Cathedral

The historic city centre has many colonial churches and plazas

a plaza inside the city museum


Inside the Santa Catalina convent


Plaza San Blas

The gate to the market

And narrow streets through its old town

The streets of San Blas

Just outside of the city are a number of significant Inca ruins.

The ruins at Tambomochay are one of the stops (and Inca control points) along the road to Machu Picchu. There are a series of still functioning aqueducts and a temple where offerings could be left.

Tambomochay

Further down the road to Cusco are the ruins of a defensive fort at Puca Pucara. This fort overlooks the road and was used as a taxation collection point as well as a defensive installation.

Puca Pucara

Heading back to Cusco and just outside of the town (actually easy walking distance) are the very impressive ruins at Saqsaywaman. These ruins feature giant interlocking stones that make up the foundations of the structure. As yet, it is still unknown how these stones were moved into place.

Stone foundations


A stone lintel

The Saqsewaman ruins

From this point you can also see all of Cusco.

Cusco from Saqsewaman

And on the opposite hill to the ruins, there is a Christ statue from which you can see even more of the city.

Statue of Christ

Cusco from the statue

It is an easy walk back to Cusco from this point. The walking track leads down to the suburb of San Blas, which features many cool bars in which you can wind down and listen to some local music after trekking around the city.

Music in San Blas