Cusco Tourist Attractions
- 5 May, 2017
Cusco places and tourist attractions
Cusco is a city in southeastern Peru, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the Cusco Region as well as the Cusco Province. The city is at 3,400 m (11,154 feet).
The colonial houses along the cobblestoned streets are the living portrait of two cultures, Inca and Spanish. You will find monuments and tourist attractions of the immense wealth that the city has.
Cusco is a city in the Peruvian Andes. It was once the capital of the Inca Empire. Cusco is now known for its archaeological remains and Spanish colonial architecture. Plaza de Armas is the central square in the old city, with arcades, carved wooden balconies and Incan wall ruins. The baroque Santo Domingo Convent stands on top of the Incan Temple of the Sun (Qoricancha). It has archaeological remains of Inca stonework.
Sacsayhuaman, Religious site
The Sacsayhuaman (also Saksaywaman or Saqsawaman, meaning ‘Royal Eagle’) fortress-temple complex lies at the northern edge of the city. Pachacuti and his successors constructed this during the reign. It’s massive, well-built walls remain today as a testimony to the skills of Inca architects. It signifies their approach of blending their monumental structures harmoniously into the natural landscape. The Sacsayhuaman is still used today for reenactments of Inca-inspired ceremonies.
Qenko, Ceremonial Center
This is one of the finest examples of a rock artfully carved in-situ showing complex patterns of steps, seats, geometric reliefs and a puma design. The rock is an excellent example of the Inca ‘Rock Worship’. In Inca cosmological beliefs the Incas held large rocky outcrops in reverence, as if they possessed some hidden spiritual force. On top of the rock are zigzag channels which served to course chicha (local maize beer) or sacrificed llama blood for purposes of divination. The speed and route of the liquid, in conjunction with the patterns made in the rock, gave the answers to the priest’s invocations.
Inside the rock are large niches and a possible altar. This may have been a place where the mummies of lesser royalty were kept along with gold and precious objects.
Tambomachay, the baths of the Inca
In Quechua, Tambomachay means “guesthouse cave,” deriving from the word tampu, guesthouse, and mach’ay, cave. While the exact function of the site is uncertain. It may have served as a defensive outpost to Cusco, a spa for the elite Incan political leaders, a temple dedicated to water, or all three. One thing is certain: it held great meaning for the Incas, signalled by its huge double doorway, a feature reserved for places of importance.
As Tambomachay is thought to have been a place to bath in an attempt to clean the mind and spirit of evil, it is known as El Bano del Inca, or “The Bath of the Inca”.
Legend has it that the spring water here has never run dry, sparking the belief that it is also a possible “fountain of youth.”
The clear and abundant water that flows at Tambomachay originates from nearby thermal springs. The aqueducts and canals feeds the water unhindered to a little waterfall at the bottom of the structure, once used for ceremonial purposes. Inca worshipped water as the source of life; one of the pillars of the Andean conception of the world.
Tambomachay is a great example of the ancient architects’ ability to harmonize constructions with the landscape, creating a space where the sound of the water echoes in the canals, resulting in a beautifully peaceful atmosphere.