The Inca’s Historic Capital City of Cusco

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  2. January 5, 2013 3:37 pm

The Inca's Historic Capital City of Cusco

Cusco is a city in present-day Peru. The city was built by Spanish conquistadors on the site that was once the capital city of the Inca Empire. One of the highest cities in the world, it stands at 11,000 feet above sea level.

In the 12th century the Inca were a pastoral tribe, but soon embarked on a path of expansion and urbanization. By the time of the Spanish conquest in the 16th century the Inca Empire was the largest in Pre-Columbian America. Cusco was the administrative, commercial and military center for the vast empire. Though the Spanish razed many Inca buildings, using the stones to build a new colonial city on the ruins of the Inca capital, many vestiges of Inca architecture remain. This gives Cusco a unique appeal to those fascinated with indigenous cultures.

Many people are drawn to Inca architecture because the Incas built with enormous stones that were fitted together with amazing accuracy. Nobody knows how the stones were moved or carved. In Cusco, you can see the ruins of the Temple of the Sun and the Temple of the Virgins of the Sun, as well as many lesser known Inca ruins scattered throughout the city.

Among the gems of Spanish colonial architecture the visitor should not miss are the Plaza de Armas, the Cathedral of Santo Domingo, and the Iglesia de la CompaƱia de Jesus.

Cusco was declared a World Heritage site in 1983 by UNESCO. Tourism is one of the most important economic activities in the city, and it boasts millions of visitors each year. The spectacular sights and cultural heritage make it easy to understand why so many people flock to Cusco.

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