In the afternoon, the city tour includes a visit to the Cathedral, considered the best repository of colonial art from the Cusco school. We’ll continue the circuit to Qoricancha (“court of gold”, also known as the temple of the sun), the religious and political center of Cusco during the Inca era. Just outside the city is Sacsayhuaman (“speckled falcon”), the fortress above Cusco whose precise zigzags of massive stone remain unmoved by the centuries. This is the center of the ceremonies for the famous Inti Raymi festival. Continuing away from the city, we’ll visit the labyrinthine ruins of Qenqo (“zigzag”), Puca Pucara (“red fort”) and Tambomachay (“cavern lodge”) where fountains built by the Incas capture the waters of a natural spring. Breakfast is included.

 

TYPE: Culture
DURATION: 1 Day
DIFFICULTY LEVEL: Moderate
TYPE OF TRIP: Standard and Private
DAYLE DEPARTURES: Everyday
RECOMMENDED DEPARTURES: April to December
INCLUDED: English speaking guide and trip briefing before departure.
Bus transportation

ITINERARY

1

THE CATHEDRAL

Built over the palace of the Inka Wiracocha, it’s thought to be the second cathedral constructed in the Americas. White stones from Sacsayhuaman and Rumi Qolqa quarry are used in the facade. There are towers on either side of the main entrance. In one of them, is found the famous bell called “Maria Angola” – smelted from gold, silver and copper. There are two adjoining churches; Triunfo and Jose, Jesus and Maria. The cathedral’s interior is composed by three central naves and various chapels. The main altar of classic style and adorned with sheets of silver. There is a great collection of art with more of 400 paintings and is considered the best repository of colonial art from the Cusco school.

2

QORICANCHA

Qoricancha (“court of gold” in Quechua, native language of the Inca), also known as the temple of the sun, was the religious and political center of Cusco during the Inca era. It houses many chapels dedicated to the sun, the moon, Venus, the stars, and the rainbow; all important features of Inca cosmology. The chapel of the sun was covered from to the floor with plates of gold with mummies of previous Incas placed in seats of gold around the room.

3

SACSAYHUAMAN

Just outside the city is Sacsayhuaman (“speckled falcon”), the fortress above Cusco whose precise zigzags of massive stone remain unmoved by the centuries. This is the center of the ceremonies for the famous Inti Raymi festival. This mammoth construction is only a fraction of its original size due to looting its stones over the centuries to built the great Spanish mansions and colonial edifices of Cuzco. Still, the remaining ruin must be seen to be believed; huge stones weighing up to 370 tons carved with unmatched precision.

4

QENKO

Some authorities says that Qenko was a site for worshipping the dead. Another theory claims it was a multi-purposed religion complex. It contains a circular an amphitheater with 19 niche “seats” carved into the rock face. The sacred rock or monolith is a huge stone almost 6 meters high and has the appearance of puma. There is a chapel that was probably a royal tomb and a “sacrifice” room. There are also zigzag shaped niches forming a channel which was for funerary or religious use.

5

PUCA PUCARA

Puca Pucara means “red fort” in Quechua. The place is believed to have been a military outpost on the route between Pisac and imperial Cusco.

6

TAMBOMACHAY

The site of Tambomachay (“cavern lodge”) has various fountains built by the Incas capture the waters of a natural spring. It is thought to be a spot used in sacred rites involving water veneration.

city tour cusco and the nearby ruins