8 things you should know about Cusco
Cusco will surprise you as soon as you land with its energy, history, and attractions. It is an unforgettable trip!
There is a lot of information about Cusco that you may not know and that we have gathered so that you have a first approach to the "Imperial City" and plan your trip.
1. It was the center of the Inca empire
Cusco was the most important city during the Inca empire or Tahuantinsuyo, which lasted from 1438 to the arrival of the Spanish in 1533 AD. Magnificent palaces functioned as administrative and religious headquarters, and from there started the roads that linked the four regions of the empire or “suyos”: Chinchaysuyo, Antisuyo, Collasuyo, and Contisuyo.
2. It is more than 3000 meters high
Many cities in the Peruvian Andes are between the mountains and above sea level. Cusco is 3,399 meters high, but as you enter the Sacred Valley, you descend to 2,850 meters. Therefore, to avoid altitude sickness, we recommend starting your visit in the valley to acclimatize.
3. It has the shape of a puma
Cusco was designed following the figure of a puma. The Sacsayhuaman Fortress - a place you must visit - was the head of the feline. The principal constructions were in the body, and the area was delimited by two rivers: Saphi and Tullumayo. The tail of the puma began where the two rivers met.
4. It has two seasons
Cusco has only two seasons: dry and rainy. The rainy season runs from November to March, and, as its name says, it rains frequently, but the cold is less intense. The dry season runs from April to October, it rarely rains, but the nights are colder.
5. It was home to great artists
The city was the cradle of the Cusco School, one of the most recognized artistic movements of the colonial era. You can recognize his paintings because they combine religious images with expressions of the Andean worldview. For example, in the cathedral, you will find a "Last Supper" canvas where the main dish is a guinea pig.
6. You will find peculiar architecture
When the Spanish arrived in Cusco, they imposed their culture in different ways, including construction. The clearest example is Santo Domingo church, built over the Coricancha or Temple of the Sun – the most important for the Incas. When looking at it from the outside, you will see both construction styles, and the interior is even more fascinating.
7. It has a fascinating language
You will hear people talking in Quechua on your walks through Cusco, Peru's second official language spoken by more than 3 million people throughout the country. There are different types of Quechua depending on their region of origin, but the one spoken in the south has the highest incidence.
8. Their food is spectacular
In Cusco, you can enjoy Peruvian gastronomy in all its splendor. The restaurants offer various alternatives, from gourmet to more traditional, taking advantage of their high-quality local ingredients. Make sure to try high-level specialty coffee, world-famous cocoa products, its typical bread, and the famous corn with cheese.