Welcome to the imperial, Andean city of Cusco, the cultural capital of Peru! This leisurely half-day tour of this amazing place will help you acclimatize to the high altitude (3399 MASL – 11151 FASL). Cusco has a long history and is the oldest continuously inhabited city in all the Americas! Since about 1000 B.C. people have lived in Cusco and regarded it as a center of the surrounding culture (then called Qosqo). It has been an important part of every civilization that has lived in the area throughout history, starting with the native people of Peru long before the famous Incan people. On arrival of the Incan Empire to Peru and beyond, Cusco (then called Cuzco) became of the naval of their far-reaching and powerful empire! Of course the Incans were then conquered by Spaniards who also used Cusco as a colonial, regal capital for the area.
Cusco holds a great cultural richness. This tour is recommended for those who would like to know more about our culture, as you will get to see the Main Plaza, the Historic Center, Main Cathedral, Qoricancha (Temple of the Sun) & Santo Domingo Convent, and the archaeological sites of Sacsayhuaman, Tambomachay, Q’enqo, and Puca Pucara. Our staff will come to your hotel to pick you up at approximately 13:45 hrs to take the tourist bus that will take us to the various archaeological sites and attractions included in this tour package. These tourist attractions include:
Cusco's Cathedral: Located in Cusco's Main Square, the cathedral is a colonial monument of great artistic value. It was built on top of the Wiracocha Inca Palace and houses works of carved wood such as the choir, pulpit and altars, beautiful paintings from the Cusquenian School of Art (including a Last Supper painting in which Christ and His disciples eat cuy – guinea pig!) and works of embossed silver. This cathedral flanks the grandiose Plaza de Armas – the historical and cultural heart of Cusco.
Koricancha Temple and Santo Domingo Convent: This religious center was built to worship the Sun, the most revered deity during the Inca Empire. Inside the temple, you will find smaller temples dedicated to the sun, moon, stars, etc. Outside are beautiful, regal gardens and fountains on the grounds of the monumental temple. Here, the combination of the extraordinary Inca architecture and the Spanish colonial architecture is what stands out the most. In addition, the Cusquenian School of Art´s gallery offers you the opportunity to appreciate some of their colonial art pieces.
Saqsayhuaman: Located 2 km from Cusco City, this fortress was built using enormous carved rocks joined with compelling precision. It is composed of three overlapping platforms with an average length of 360 meters. In its construction, you can see stones as big as 9 meters in height! From here, you can enjoy a spectacular view of Cusco city along with the beautiful landscape formed by the surrounding mountains.
Q`enqo: Located 1 km from Sacsayhuaman, this complex was an Inca ceremonial cult center. The most prominent feature of this complex is an open space called the amphitheater. Back in its day, you would have found Inca mummies in the 19 trapezoidal niches found here. Today, the amphitheater is half of its original height.
Puca Pucara: This complex is known as the ´´ red fortress´´ due to its reddish tints resulting from the vast amounts of iron in its rocks. It is thought that this fortress was perhaps an old tambo (dairy farm?) that served both as a resting and guarding spot to protect Tambomachay. Here you can see attractive architecture, fountains, aqueducts, and several Incan enclosures.
Tambomachay: This complex is made up of a combination of finely carved stones, waterfalls, and aqueducts to carry water coming from nearby springs and hot springs. For this reason, Tambomachay is associated with the water cult. In front of this construction, there is a tower that is said to have served as a guarding post and communication tower.
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