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Cuzco, Perú. Author and Copyright Nello and Nadia Lubrina.
Cuzco, Perú. Author and Nello and Nadia Lubrina.

Cuzco: Incas remains and Spanish colonial architecture

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The city of Cuzco (Cusco) stands at around 3,400 meters above sea level in the middle of the Andes mountain range. The city is located along the mountain valley of the Huatanay river in a grandiose and scenic mountain landscape.


The Cuzco area is the place of origin of the Incas. In fact, the Cuzco area was inhabited by the Incas tribe, a tribe of shepherds. They founded the city in the 12th century, and a few years later under the leadership of Manco Cápac they began to expand their power and their territories. Cuzco soon became the capital of their vast empire. An empire that extended across the Andean mountain range encompassing large areas of today’s Ecuador, Peru, Colombia, Bolivia, Chile and Argentina. The city remained the capital of the Inca empire between the thirteenth century and 1533. In this year the Spaniards occupied the city and put an end to the Inca civilization.

After the Spanish occupation Cuzco became the main center of Iberian colonization and the spread of Christianity in the Andean world. The city was enriched with Spanish colonial-style monuments, churches, convents and palaces. Over the years, however, Cuzco, which was outside the great trade routes of the Spanish empire, declined in favor of the new capital Lima.


The city is among the most popular tourist destinations in Peru, its historic center is centered on the vast Plaza de Armas. Cuzco preserves an enormous heritage of Inca-era monuments such as the Inca fortress of Sacsayhuamán, the remains of the Incas palace, the Temple of the Sun, and the Temple of the Virgins of the Sun.

Cuzco preserves an equally important patrimony of buildings from the Spanish colonial era such as the majestic Cathedral of Santo Domingo built between the 16th and 17th centuries, the Renaissance Convent of Santo Domingo, and the Church of the Society of Jesus of the 16th century. Due to the importance and beauty of its Inca and Spanish monuments, the city was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983.

The climate of Cuzco.



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