Cuzco, though it boasts beautiful architecture and many cultural attractions, seemed to get overshadowed quickly by our trek to Macchu Picchu. It warrants its own accolades as the capital of the Inca Empire from the 13th century to 1532. The layout of the city is supposedly in the shape of the sacred puma, with both Spanish colonial and imperial architectural influences.
We spent a few days in Cuzco before heading to the mountains for our trek. Cuzco allowed for altitude acclimatization, and historical perspective. We strolled through the Plaza de Armas and admired its La Catedral, a cathedral built in the 1550s with stones stolen from the nearby Incan site called Sacsayhuaman.
We navigated the cobble stoned streets to find the perfect pisco sours (not my fave unfortunately) and discovered Qoricancha, better known as Temple of the Sun. It was originally adorned with 700 gold plated walls that bounced light in a thousand directions. Unfortunately, the Spaniards looted the gold and all that is left is the masonry.
Whitney and I broke off from the group for an afternoon visit to the Choco Museum, where we learned all about the process of making chocolate. The chocolate goodies at the end were the best part, in my opinion!
We also spent a morning at Sacsayhuaman just outside of the city. Sacsayhuaman is an old Incan fortress, a massive stone complex with pieces weighing tons. Myth states that the jagged walls represent the puma’s teeth.
My favorite moment of our time in Cuzco was witnessing a parade through Plaza de Armas. We climbed to the top of La Catedral providing expansive views of the parade festivities, as well as the surrounding city. The traditional dress of the Quechua people with bright colors and patterns is striking and distinctive.
Next time we visit Peru, we will have to stop by the alluring city of Cuzco once again.