Cusco city tour
Cusco city Itinerary starts with the most outstanding places of Cusco Highlights ancient remain such us Sacsayhuaman man powered temple built at the beginning of the 14,000 Ac. Impressive history will be explain by our local tour guides such experts with archeology and colonial history half day of lecture.
Cusco is considered the oldest and most inhabited city in South America. This city attracts travelers of all nationalities, explores miles of tourist destinations for everyone, demonstrating that it has a wide range of archaeological complexes. Make the best daily tour of the city of Cusco.
Half-time schedule for Cusco in the morning at 09:00 or in the afternoon at 01:00 pm according to your schedule. We will pick you up from the hotel to enjoy the most historical and highly visited visits of the best the best one day tour in the Cusco City.
During the tour, we will enjoy Sacsayhuaman, the oldest and most outstanding archeological site, we will continue exploring the mortuary and the spiritual temple of Qenqo, highly recommended to understand the history of the Incas, then we will return to Cusco the rest of the afternoon, the Temple of the Sun Qorikancha and the Cathedral Basilica, finishing at your hotel at approximately 06:00 pm. Simply dare and enjoy the wonders that the best one day tour in the Cusco City.
INCLUSIONS & EXCLUSIONS
- Private transportation
- Professional tour guide
- Entrance fee
- Gratuities for your guide
What you’ll need to bring and carry
- A backpack with a change of clothes for the whole period of the trek
- Rain jacket or poncho (plastic ponchos can be purchased in Cusco)
- Strong footwear, ideally trekking or sport shoes
- Warm clothes, including jacket, fleece and sweaters
- Flashlight and batteries
- Camera, films and batteries (batteries consume more quickly under cold conditions)
- Hat or cap to protect you from the sun, rain or cold
- Sun block
- Insect repellent
- Toilet paper
- Snacks: biscuits, energy bars, chocolate, etc.
- Water bottle and sterilizing tablets (ie. Micropur)
- Small towel
- Swimsuit (if you intend to go to the hot springs)
- Optional: walking sticks or poles.
Saqsaywaman, which can be spelled many different ways (possibly from Quechua language, waman falcon or variable hawk), is a citadel on the northern outskirts of the city of Cusco, Peru, the historic capital of the Inca Empire. Sections were first built by the Killke culture about 1100; they had occupied the area since 900. The complex was expanded and added to by the Inca from the 13th century; they built dry stone walls constructed of huge stones. The workers carefully cut the boulders to fit them together tightly without mortar. The site is at an altitude of 3,701 m (12,142 ft).
In 1983, Cusco and Sacsayhuamán together were added to the UNESCO World Heritage List for recognition and protection.
Description of Sacsayhuaman
Located on a steep hill that overlooks the city, the fortified complex has a wide view of the valley to the southeast. Archeological studies of surface collections of pottery at Sacsayhuamán indicate that the earliest occupation of the hilltop dates to about 900 CE. According to Inca oral history, Tupac Inca “remembered that his father Pachacuti had called city of Cuzco the lion city. He said that the tail was where the two rivers unite which flow through it, that the body was the great square and the houses round it, and that the head was wanting.” The Inca decided the “best head would be to make a fortress on a high plateau to the north of the city.” But archeologists have found that Sacsayhuamán was originally built by the preceding Killke culture. The Inca expanded on what they found, beginning about the 13th century.
After the Battle of Cajamarca during the Spanish Conquest of the Inca, Francisco Pizarro sent Martin Bueno and two other Spaniards to transport the gold and silver from the Temple of Coricancha to Cajamarca, the base of the Spanish. They found the Temple of the Sun “covered with plates of gold”, which the Spanish ordered removed in payment for Atahualpa’s ransom. Seven hundred plates were removed, and added to two hundred cargas of gold transported back to Cajamarca. The royal mummies, draped in robes, and seated in gold embossed chairs, were left alone. But, while desecrating the temple, Pizarro’s three men also defiled the Virgins of the Sun, sequestered women considered sacred, who served at the temple.:192–193
After Francisco Pizarro finally entered Cuzco, his brother Pedro Pizarro described what they found,
“on top of a hill they [the Inca] had a very strong fort surrounded with masonry walls of stones and having two very high round towers. And in the lower part of this wall there were stones so large and thick that it seemed impossible that human hands could have set them in place…they were so close together, and so well fitted, that the point of a pin could not have been inserted in one of the joints. The whole fortress was built up in terraces and flat spaces.” The numerous rooms were “filled with arms, lances, arrows, darts, clubs, bucklers and large oblong shields…there were many morions…there were also…certain stretchers in which the Lords travelled, as in litters.”
Pedro Pizarro described in detail storage rooms that were within the complex and filled with military equipment.
Because of its location high above Cusco and its immense terrace walls, this area of Sacsayhuamán is frequently referred to as a fortress. The importance of its military functions was highlighted in 1536 when Manco Inca lay siege to Cusco. Much of the fighting occurred in and around Sacsayhuamán, as it was critical to maintaining control over the city. Descriptions of the siege, as well as excavations at the site, had recorded towers on the summit of the site, as well as a series of other buildings. For example, Pedro Sancho, who visited the complex before the siege, mentions the labyrinth-like quality of the complex and its many storage rooms filled with a wide variety of items. He also notes that there were buildings with large windows that looked over the city. These structures, like so much of the site, have long since been destroyed.
The large plaza area, capable of holding thousands of people, is well designed for ceremonial activities. Several of the large structures at the site may also have been used during rituals. A similar relationship to that between Cuzco and Sacsayhuamán was replicated by the Inca in their distant colony where Santiago, Chile has developed. The Inca fortress there, known as Chena, predated the Spanish colonial city; it was a ceremonial ritual site of Huaca de Chena.
The best-known zone of Sacsayhuamán includes its great plaza and its adjacent three massive terrace walls. The stones used in the construction of these terraces are among the largest used in any building in pre-Hispanic America. They display a precision of fitting that is unmatched in the Americas. The stones are so closely spaced that a single piece of paper will not fit between many of the stones. This precision, combined with the rounded corners of the blocks, the variety of their interlocking shapes, and the way the walls lean inward, is thought to have helped the ruins survive devastating earthquakes in Cuzco. The longest of the three walls is about 400 meters. They are about 6 meters tall. The estimated volume of stone is over 6,000 cubic meters. Estimates for the weight of the largest andesite block vary from 128 tonnes to almost 200 tonnes.
Q’enqo, Qenko, Kenko, or Quenco (all from Quechua for “zig-zag”) is an archaeological site in the Sacred Valley of Peru located in the Cusco Region, Cusco Province, Cusco District, about 6 km north east of Cusco. The site was declared a Cultural Heritage (Patrimonio Cultural) of the Cusco Region by the National Institute of Culture.
It is one of the largest huacas (holy places) in the Cusco Region. Many huacas were based on naturally occurring rock formations. It was believed to be a place where sacrifices and mummification took place.
Qenqo (3,580 meters above sea level) is one of the most important archaeological attractions in Cusco. It is located just 4 kilometers from the Imperial Imperial City ’and a few meters from Sacsayhuamán, Tambomachay, Puca Pucara and other important Inca sites. This archaeological center must have enjoyed a lot of importance due to the amazing remains that still stand despite the destruction caused by the Spaniards in the place. It is believed that the Inca gods were worshiped there like the sun, the moon, the mountains and the earth. Even today there are many mysteries surrounding this place. Learn 8 interesting facts about this amazing place.
Qenqo (also known as Kenko) is a Quechua word (Q’inqu) that means ‘labyrinth’. This refers to the underground galleries in various directions and the zigzag-shaped stone channels. This name was put by the Spaniards after the conquest. The original Inca name is unknown. Although much of its buildings (aqueducts, terraces, trails, colcas and liturgical baths) were destroyed by the conquerors, it is still possible to appreciate the skill with which the Incas carved the stones.
Qenqo is located in the current Socorro hill. This place covers an area of up to 3,500 square meters of rocky land. This land was ideal for the construction of underground galleries which are one of the main attractions of the site. These lead to several spaces of the archaeological complex. Like Puca Pucara and Sacsayhuaman, the existence of these underground tunnels or ‘chincanas’ enjoyed great importance. It is even believed that in the fortress of Sacsayhuamán there is a tunnel that connects with the Coricancha (Temple of the Sun).
Road boy, road big
The Archaeological Site of Qenqo is divided into two places according to the paths that lead to it: the small road and the large road. The first crosses a hillside of Socorro hill. The second is the longest, which is at the foot of the hill and leads from Sacsayhuamán to Pisac. Qenqo Grande covers most of the current tourist buildings such as the underground galleries Qenqo Chico, on the other hand, is almost completely destroyed except for some carved stone walls and the urban layout of the site.
In the same style as the Roman amphitheaters, the Incas built a 55 meter long semicircular platform surrounded by unfinished niches in Qenqo. In the middle is a huge stone block (6 meters) irregularly erected in a rectangular block. In this place is the carved passage that leads to the underground galleries. Although popularly known as the amphitheater, its objective is still uncertain. It is presumed that this place should have served as a ceremonial center. The destruction caused during the conquest does not allow us to appreciate the true majesty of the site.
Blood or chicha
Like many ancient cultures, the Incas offered the blood of different animals to worship their gods. They even made human sacrifices. Among the most used elements for these rites are the blood of llamas, alpacas, or chicha, fermented grain-based beverage. In Qenqo there is a rocky elevation that leads to a carved stone staircase to the top. There the Incas worked a hole that descends in zigzag until it is divided into 2 points, one to the underground galleries and the other that continues in slope. It is presumed that chicha or llama blood was offered there.
One of the main attractions of the Inca Citadel of Machu Picchu is the Intihuatana (‘place where the sun is tied’) or astronomical observatory to calculate the solar position. A similar construction exists in several important archaeological sites such as Ollantaytambo and Qenqo. The latter is based on a rock where two small cylindrical formations stand out. This lithic structure should have served as an astronomical observatory where the seasonal changes were calculated as well as an observatory to the sun, the moon and the stars.
The Temple of the Apes
500 meters from the large Qenqo there are some irregularly carved rock constructions called Cusillachayoc, a Quechua word translated as Temple of the Apes. This rock has zoomorphic figures in relief of which the forms of snakes and monkeys stand out; which gave the name to the enclosure. Due to the destruction of the place, many of the main structures are damaged. On the site you can see the remains of a water pipe and the rock whose figure was probably that of a cougar.
The Incas made human sacrifices called ‘capacocha’. In Qenqo it is believed that there was a mortuary room called ‘Sacrifice Room’. This platform carved in a large rock resembles a large seat and is located in the underground galleries. In this structure floors, walls, ceilings, niches and other ways in which, it is presumed, human and animal sacrifices as well as embalming were made. The mortuary room is one of the spaces of the enclosure in better condition.
qoricancha: temple of the sun
Coricancha, Koricancha, Qoricancha or Qorikancha (“The Golden Temple,” from Quechua quri gold; kancha enclosure) was the most important temple in the Inca Empire. It is located in Cusco, Peru.
Originally named Intikancha or Intiwasi, it was dedicated to Inti, and is located at the old Inca capital of Cusco. Mostly destroyed after the 16th century war with the Spanish conquistadors, much of its stonework forms the foundation of the Santo Domingo Convent.
To construct Coricancha, the Inca utilized ashlar masonry, which is composed of similarly sized cuboid stones. The use of ashlar masonry made the temple much more difficult to construct, as the Inca did not use any stone with a slight imperfection or break. By choosing this masonry type, the Inca intentionally demonstrated the importance of the building through the extent of the labor necessary to build the structure. Through the arduous labor needed to construct buildings with ashlar masonry, this form of construction came to signify the Inca’s imperial power to mobilize local labor forces.
The replication throughout Andean South America of Inca architectural techniques such as those employed at Coricancha further illustrates the Inca’s control over a vast geographic region.
Pachakutiq Inca Yupanqui rebuilt Cusco and the House of the Sun, enriching it with more oracles and edifices, and adding plates of fine gold. He provided vases of gold and silver for the Mama-cunas, nuns, to use in the veneration services. Finally, he took the bodies of the seven deceased Incas and enriched them with masks, head-dresses, medals, bracelets, sceptres of gold, placing them on a golden bench.
The walls were once covered in sheets of gold, and its adjacent courtyard was filled with golden statues. Spanish reports tell of its opulence that was “fabulous beyond belief”. When the Spanish required the Inca to raise a ransom in gold for the life of the leader Atahualpa, most of the gold was collected from Coricancha.
The Spanish colonists built the Convent of Santo Domingo on the site, demolishing the temple and using its foundations for the cathedral. Construction took most of a century. This is one of numerous sites where the Spanish incorporated Inca stonework into the structure of a colonial building. Major earthquakes severely damaged the church, but the Inca stone walls, built out of huge, tightly interlocking blocks of stone, still stand due to their sophisticated stone masonry. Nearby is an underground archaeological museum that contains mummies, textiles, and sacred idols from the site.
Similarities exist in the semicircular temples found in the Temple of the Sun in Cusco, the Torreon in Machu Picchu, and the Temple of the Sun in Písac. In particular, all three exhibit a “parabolic enclosure wall” of the finest stonework, as Bingham describes it. Besides the structural similarities, there are similarities in usage, including the observation of solstices and Inca constellations. Within the Milky Way, which the Inca called mayu or Celestial River, the Inca distinguished dark area or clouds, which they called yana phuyu. These were considered silhouettes or shadows of animals drinking from the river water. Amongst the animals visible to the Inca, a llama extended from Scorpius to Alpha Centauri and Beta Centauri, in which those two stars formed the llama’s eyes, or llamacnawin. A baby llama, llama-cria, was inverted underneath. To the left of the llamas is a red-eyed fox, atoq, which lies between Sagittarius and the tail of Scorpius. The tail of Scorpius is a storehouse, or Qullqa. A partridge, yutu, was just below the Southern Cross, and a toad, hamp’atu, to the lower right. A serpent, machaguay, extends off to the right.
During the Inti Raymi, the Sapa Inca and curacas would proceed from the Haucaypata, where they greeted the rising June solstice rising sun, to the inner court of the Coricancha. On a bench in the “sun room”, the Sapa Inca sat with the mummies of his ancestors. This and other rooms were oriented northeast–southwest, shingled in gold plate, and embedded with emeralds and turquoise. Focusing the sun’s rays with a concave mirror, the Sapa Inca would light a fire for the burnt sacrifice of llamas. Children were also sacrificed in certain circumstances, arriving in Cusco following a ceque and huaca route.
The Coricancha is located at the confluence of two rivers. Here, according to Inca myth, is where Manco Cápac decided to build the Coricancha, the foundation of Cusco, and the eventual Inca Empire. According to Ed Krupp, “The Inca built the Coricancha at the confluence because that place represented terrestrially the organizing pivot of heaven.”
Peru Travel information
When to travel to Peru? Considering that Peru is categorized as one of the 17 megadiverse countries on earth, you have a variety of climates and seasons to consider. That being said, you can visit Peru year-round depending on where you would like to visit. However, if you are looking to explore the Amazonian rainforest or traverse through the Andes Mountains, many travelers choose to avoid the rainy season which runs from November to March with its peak between January and February. Visiting from April through October lands you in the generally dry winter season, which is an excellent time to visit Machu Picchu, experience a world-class trek, traverse the exotic Amazon Rain forest not to mention the other amazing destinations Peru has to offer. Speak with a Qosqo Expeditions Designer today to discover the best time for you to experience a luxury tour of Peru.
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Lima, Peru`s Capital City
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Official Languages: Spanish, Quechua, Aymara
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12 designated UNESCO sites