Posted by Vi Warkentin on
After Machu Picchu, we headed out on PeruRail back to Ollataytambo where we caught up with our driver who drove us to Cusco. Arriving late in the evening, we settled for having drinks at the hotel where we were staying (in the central historical area near Plaza de Armas) and called it a day. More on our hotel, the Casa Andina Private Collection in a later post.
Cusco - I really loved this city and would have liked to have stayed much longer! Its altitude is around 3400 m (12,200 ft) and I had no issues with that at all.
Cusco was the site of the historic capital of the Inca Empire (13th century - 1532) and was decalred a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1983. Its population of 300,000+ continues to rapidly expand and hundreds of thousands of tourists make their way here each year.
Pictured below is the Cathedral of Santo Domingo - located on the main square of Cusco called the Plaza de Armas. The construction of the cathedral was finally completed in the mid 1600’s - almost 100 years after the construction first started! It’s built on the foundations and also used some of the remains of a former Incan temple torn down by the Spanish. The Cathedral now holds a significant repository of Cusco’s colonial art along with archeological artifacts. The smaller Iglesia del Triunfo appears on the immediate left-hand (north) side of this Cathedral, also built in a similar time period as the Cathedral.
A very peaceful plaza - Plaza de Armas - a very popular meeting place at all times of the day! You never know when a parade or some kind of procession is about to happen here! Or when someone will offer to shine your shoes (or sneakers) for a few soles. Or will try and sell you a ‘one-of-a-kind’ painting until you are approached by someone else a few blocks away selling the same ‘one-of-a-kind’ painting! It’s all good!
Looking to the north from Plaza de Armas. At the top of the hill to the center-left of the photo is part of Sacsayhuamán - the walled terraces of the former capital of the Inca empire. A cross erected on Sacsayhuamán overlooks San Cristobal church and another cross, Cristo Blanco - aka White Jesus overlooks Cusco from the hill on the right. Cristo Blanco - White Jesus overlooks Cusco from the north. (I ran out of time to hike up here for, what seems like, a fantastic view overlooking Cusco!)A closer look at the cross on Sacsayhuamán and a side view of San Cristobal below. I wish I would have taken the time to hike up to this area as the views would have been spectacular! The crosses are more visible against the clouds in this B/W photo. Just playing around in post-production - reminded me of my old pencil sketches. Sacsayhuamán’s terraces visible along with San Cristobal church and Plaza de Armas in the foreground.
Day 7 - Friendly Planet - Amazing Peru Tour