The town is the oldest continuously inhabited city in South America, the archaeological capital of America and the most cosmopolitan city in Peru. It is full of contrasts, not only in its structures but in everything related to it; its culture, its celebrations, its food, the people who live in it, etc .; Here you can find people from all over the world. All this mixture has given Cusco its “rare beauty”. A City Tour in Cusco is the perfect start to your visit to Machu Picchu and your experience with the Andean culture.
Qoricancha: According to the Inca conception, the “Qorikancha” was the main religious, geographical and political center of Cusco. The temple of Qorikancha, was the place where the Inca god “sun” was paid homage to the maximum Inca god. Etymologically, the word Qoricancha is divided in the following way: “Qori” means worked gold, its Castilianized form is cori. “Kancha” means fenced place or limited by walls, its castellanizada form is court, from where it has that the name corresponds approximately to “fenced place that contains gold”
The stories tell that when the Spaniards arrived at the temple of the Coricancha they never found so much gold together, the walls of the temple were covered with a layer of gold that illuminated the entire enclosure and in its extensive gardens were representations of animals and cornfields made of pure gold . Most pieces were sent to Spain as a thank you to the king for allowing the expeditions of conquest.
The temple of the Qoricancha was perhaps the most important and sacred of the Incas, not only for having venerated the Sun God “Inti” but for being the only temple that devoted itself entirely to the ceremonies of veneration, never found evidence of housing in this place. Most chroniclers agree describing the majesty of the Qoricancha temple, its walls made of calcite and andesite stone have a perfect finish and prevail over time, despite having endured 3 earthquakes (1650, 1749 and 1950).
According to chroniclers like Luis e. Valcarcel the “Inca Huayna Capac”, son of Tupac Inca Yupanqui and grandson of Pachacutec, was in charge of giving special importance to the temple and tried to centralize the empire of the Incas in this place, so he ordered that all the riches of the empire be taken to the Coricancha, unprecedented fact that favored some revolutionary movements within the Empire. After the death of Huayna Capac, it was not clear which of his sons (Huáscar or Atahualpa) had to hold power, which led to the decline of the empire and the easy conquest of the Spanish.
Saqsaywaman: Sacsayhuaman was built between the 14th and 15th centuries. The work lasted more than five decades, required the work of 20,000 men who gathered as tribute (mita-community work in favor of the state). All its structures were located without the need for them to cease to be part of the place where they stand, integrating deeply and harmonically the then sacred category of the landscape, obtaining a colossal altar to nature. The rock was cut with the approximate dimensions in the quarry and then it was carried with ropes on the sides and a kind of wheel made with logs underneath, the stone was taken by hundreds of men to the place where it would be placed, where gave the definitive carving
Sacsaywaman is a Quechua word that etymologically means Saqsay = “Saciarse” and Huamán = “hawk” that is to say “Place where the hawk is satiated”. The strength of Sacsayhuaman was the greatest architectural work that the Incas did. The construction was carried out by 3 important rulers, started during the government of the Inca Pachacuteq (the ninth Inca), then continued with his son Tupac Inca Yupanqui and was completed by Huayna Capac around the fifteenth century.
Sacsaywuaman was the most important military fort in the Empire, compared by its greatness with the Roman Colosseum, was the access point by the north to the city of Cusco, in this fort the Incas stored their weapons and were prepared for any threat of invasion, Legend has it that in this place one of the biggest battles took place among the “Chancas” who came from the area of the current department of Ayacucho and the “Incas”. The battle lasted for several days, with the Incas triumphant.
Historically in the pampas of Sacsayhuaman the “Inti Raymi” or festival of the Sun takes place. Every 24th of June at the winter solstice the Inca offers a sacrifice to the God “Inti” Sol. The ceremony has lasted in time and until the present is practiced in Cusco.
Qenqo: What is left of the archaeological complex of Q’enqo are carved rocks that could not be destroyed by the Spaniards, little is left of the paths and aqueducts, nor are the precincts, the deposits or the liturgical baths, besides the great layer of gold that illuminated the whole place.
Qenqo was possibly used by the Incas as a center of worship, the passages that resemble a labyrinth have on their flanks several channels in the form of “Amarus” (serpents) where the blood of the animal sacrifices, which were usually the more beautiful and unique, maybe that was the reason why black animals were the chosen ones. Some chroniclers like Juan de de Betanzos describe as: “a savage act that the Incas committed by sacrificing not only animals, but also newborns who had special beauty, according to the Incas these beings were born beautiful in order to join the Gods ”
Qenqo has a sacrificial room in one of its underground chambers, where a large rock protrudes, which according to the chroniclers was covered with gold, in the upper part of the chamber you can see a hole, which was exactly above said rock, the light of the moon penetrated through this hole and thus radiating over the layer of gold, illuminated the whole place. Some historians affirm that in Qenqo is the tomb of the Inca Pachacuteq, the most important of all.
Pucapucara: Pukapukara is a Quechua word meaning “red fortress” because the sun’s twilight changes the color of the rocks to red. The traditional information indicates that, when the Inca was about to visit the Baths of Tambomachay, the formidable group of soldiers, dancers and others stayed in Pukapukara, which was a barracks and tambo (resting place). It is said that “the chincana” (cave located in Sacsayhuaman) communicated precisely Pukapukara with Tambomachay, which is not proven.
Puka Pukara specifically military purpose tube, was the point of control of entry into the city of Cusco “The capital of the Empire”, but also served as a tambo (resting place), for the chaskis that carried messages or parcels from town to town. In the part of the hillside dehydrated products were stored, thanks to the strong winds the products could be conserved for more time in a kind of refrigerator.
Tambomachay: Tambomachay has an approximate area of half a hectare and the material used for its construction was limestone with polygonal style rigging. The tradition knows this monument as “The Bath of the Ñusta” due to the existence of two aqueducts that carry crystal clear water all year round. It is an unmissable destination, where the Inca and his entourage came to relax, not far from the city of Cusco.
Tambomachay was a center of adoration and cult to the water, the Incas asked the Gods that arrive the rains for their cultures and these became fertile, reason why some also know this place as the “temple of the fertility”, is impressive that, despite the passage of time, crystal water flows through its aqueducts. The Incas used their ingenuity to channel water from a small waterfall and divide it into two waterfalls. Legend has it that if women drink from its waters they can conceive easily, if the water comes from the fall on the right side they will have a male child and if a woman is from the left side. Tambomachay had restricted access to the town, only the Inca and his entourage could use their facilities.
Day 01: Qoricancha – Saqsayhuaman -Qenqo – Pucapucara – Tambomachay
Our staff will pick you up from your hotel or our office in Cusco at around 13:30 pm to take you to our mini van transportation and start the tour. We will visit the Qoricancha, This is a religious center known as “Temple of the Sun” actually. It was the most important Temple in Inca Times. After we will approach our mobility to continue with our tour to Sacsayhuaman, . It is located 3 km. outside of Cusco. This is an impressive fortress of excellent architecture. Sacsayhuaman is the place where the “Inti Raymi” (Party of the Sun) is celebrated every 24th of June. Then we will visit Qenqo. This was a ceremonial and religious center in Inca times. After we will continue Pucapucara, This was an old Tambo (rest and guard post); these posts used to be found all along the Inca Trail paths (walkways) in Inca Times. And finally we will visit Tambomachay. This was a ceremonial center where the Incas used to worship the water; it is also known as the place of the waters of the eternal youth.
Drop off in your hotel or main square.
- Professional English Guide
- Tourist Mini Van service
- Entrance fee (Parcial tourist ticket for city tour) S/70.00 PEN
- Entrance to Qoricancha (temple of the sun) S/15.00 PEN
What should you bring:
- Cap, sunscreen, rain poncho
Offer price per person!! US $ 25.00 Group service of 20 people in Mini Van.
- 01 person $ 209.00 USD
- 02 persons $ 129.00 USD (per person)
- 03 persons $ 99.00 USD (per person)
- 04 persons $ 79.00 USD (per person)
- 05 persons to more!! $ 59.00 USD (per person)
Private Service Included:
- Pick up from the airport to the hotel/hostal in our private Mini Van or H1
- Professional Private Guide for the City Tour
Private Service Not Included:
- Partial tourist ticket to visit the 04 archaeological sites ($ 22.00 USD) (Sacsayhuaman, Qenqo , Pucapucara and Tambomachay)
- Qoricancha Temple ($ 5.00 USD)
- Cathedral Temple (Optional) ($ 8.00 USD)