HALF-DAY TOUR OF CUSCO & NEARBY SITES
How did the Spanish conquistadors see Cuzco upon arrival to this country in 1533?
It was a prosperous city with magnificent temples, squares, and wealthy houses of the royal family, with their attendants and other nobles. Saphi River crossed through the central square and divided the city into two sectors: upper (Hanan) and lower (Urin). Many believe that the city was planned as an effigy in the shape of a puma, a sacred animal. The head of the puma was the Saqsaywaman sector, located above all other parts of the city.
After arrival to Cusco the Spanish invaders changed the entire image of the city. The Spanish destroyed many Incan buildings, temples, and palaces. They used the remaining walls as the foundation for the construction of a new city. The Spanish churches were built using the stones from demolished Incan buildings. The incredible colonial constructions built upon Inca foundations, have created a unique mestizo style of architecture, and this influence can be seen throughout the city’s culture and art.
Cusco is a city with a rich history. It was the capital of the great Incan Empire for 200 years, but excavations indicate that it was inhabited as much as 3000 years ago.
The Inca referred to their empire as Tawantinsuyu, (in Quechua Tawantin Suyu, Tawantinsuyu means "four parts together”) The empire was divided into four suyus, whose corners met at the capital, Cusco (Qosqo). They did not know other countries, did not travel beyond the seas; their land was the entire world and Cusco was the centre of this world. This explains one of the versions of the word “Cusco”. It can be translated as the “Centre of the World; the Navel of the Earth” from Quechua. Another version of translation of the name is “The Place of Ashes”, the place of ritual sacrifice. All main temples of Incas were in Cusco and all significant religious ceremonies were also held here.
There are many legends about the origin of Cusco. One of them tells how, Manco Capac and his sister and wife Mama Ocllo emerged from the waters of Lake Titicaca with the mission to look for the promised land where the gold staff given to him by his father the Sun, would sink in the ground as a sign of fertility. In another version of this legend the Incan ancestors – four siblings and their sister-consorts emerged from the cave in one of the islands of Titicaca Lake. One of them was Manco Capac who founded the city of Cusco and laid the foundation of the Incan Empire.
Cusco is the place of foundation and end of the great Tawantinsuyu Empire. In 1572 the last Inca stronghold was conquered, and the last ruler, Tupac Amaru, Manco's son, was captured and executed. This was the fall of the Inca Empire.
Private Services (1-3 People)
Shared Services (4-6 People)
All Pricing is Per Person. Please contact us for large groups or special circumstances.
See The Sites
Water temple of Tambo Machay - Fortress Puca Pucara - Oracle place Qenqo - Impressive Royal House of the Sun (Sacsayhuamán) - Cusco Cathedral - Cusco Main Square - Sun Temple of Korikanch
Tour guide - Tour bus - Pick up and drop off within Cusco - Shared service