Cuzco, which has been called the ancient capital of Lima is situated about 11,000 feet above sea level in the Andes mountains. When you travel here it is recommended that you drink coca tea or chew on coca leaves to alleviate altitude sickness. I did this and didn’t personally experience any problems with the elevation but several people I know became ill with headaches, stomach upset and fever.
The city was beautiful and was filled with palaces, stone roads and side-walks and gardens and fountains. There were 2 huge public squares that I saw and the towns people were always walking through them selling everything from pastries and chocolates to clothes and handcrafted toys.
Considering the era that this city was built, it is amazing to see how the stonework and aqueducts were so excellently handcrafted and are for the most part still functioning today.
An interesting Inca belief I learned about was how the Inca’s believed in an afterlife and so for each new emperor a new palace had to be built because the servants of former Incas had to continue to live in their master’s palaces to wait on them in the after-life. For this, the city is covered with magnificent buildings and masterfully made. I would call that job security but whatever.
The famous Temple of the Sun sits in the middle of the city and has 6 chapels built around the central courtyard. The stones that constructed the chapels were covered with sheets of gold which now causes them to nearly glisten in the setting sun. While I was there I saw at least 2 religious “parades” where hundreds of townspeople followed a raised cart holding Jesus on a cross as well as other banners.
In the past, Cuzco was the seat of government as well as a city so it was constantly filled with all forms of armies, priests, messengers and on and on. Every month there was a religious celebration that caused the square to become even more crowded. Today the crowds persist, but are more often than not people such as myself only interested in viewing what remains of the entire area.
A massive fortress that once guarded the city which you had to pass through and pay a toll still exists in structure but not in function. All in all it was a city very beautifully situated in an area rich in history and ripe for exploration. Like most historical areas I have visited, I feel if you are planning a trip here you should do it soon before regulation and destructive tourism reigns havoc on the beauty it currently contains.
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- 10 Travel Destinations In Peru Besides Cuzco And Lima (gadling.com)
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