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WHERE TO GO?

This brief guide will help you to find the most typical places, which you just can´t miss while in Cusco.

The Santo Domingo Convent – Qorikancha

Regarding the Incan Empire the temple of the Sun is one of the most outstanding buildings in Cusco, not only because of its arquitacture but also because of the facility´s history as well as its colonial paintings. From the high chancel of the Santo Domingo Convent we can tesitify the history and the spirit, which was brought by the Orden of Preachers of Peru. Building their temple on top of Qorikancha, the brothers of Santo Domingo secured the connection between the different contributors and past events of Cusco, bringing past secrets to the present.

The Santo Domingo Convent – Qorikancha

Regarding the Incan Empire the temple of the Sun is one of the most outstanding buildings in Cusco, not only because of its arquitacture but also because of the facility´s history as well as its colonial paintings. From the high chancel of the Santo Domingo Convent we can tesitify the history and the spirit, which was brought by the Orden of Preachers of Peru. Building their temple on top of Qorikancha, the brothers of Santo Domingo secured the connection between the different contributors and past events of Cusco, bringing past secrets to the present.

Regional Historical Muesum / House of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega

This building is a reliquary of colonial art and was the birthplace of the mestizo writer Inca Garcilaso de la Vega, celebrated for writing “Comentarios Reales de los Incas” (The real coments of the Incas). Since 1946 it is the Regional Historical Museum, on the first floor archaeological pieces from Cusco and the Peruvian coast can be admired. Valuable historic documents, a collection of pre-incean objects, textiles, agricultural tools and Andean music instruments are displayed togehter with an important collection of paintings from the Cusquenean school, from great painters like Pablo Chili Tupa, Antonio Vilca, Gerónimo Gutiérrez and Diego Quispe Tito.

Inca Museum

Located on Cuesta del Almirate, this street owes his name to Teniente Corregidor Francisco Aldrete Maldonado, he was called “El Almirante”. He lived there until his death in 1643, leaving behind one of the most remarkable colonial houses in Cusco. Originally constructed with stones by the manpower of the Incas at the beginning of the XVII century, reconstructed by Pedro Peralta de los Ríos after the earthquake in 1650 and once more reconstructed by the University San Antonio Abad del Cusco after the earthquake in 1950. Nowadays an emblem is displayed and it has a striking plateresque doorway that opens its doors to the great archery courtyard and coffered halls.

Plaza de Armas or Haukaypata

The current Plaza de Armas of Cusco was built on top of unsu or rather on the most important forecourt of Tahuantinsuyo. The most important Incan ceremonias and religious festivals like Inti Raymi took place there. However, about its origen and meaning has been speculated a lot. To solve this problem we present this historical reference from the year 1599, in the trail to proof his origin Melchor Carlos Inca presented a witness of the marriage between Huayna Cápac and Añas Collque. In this trail the witness Francisco Uñapaucar de la Parroquia de Nuestra Señora de Belén points out that: “haucaypata wants to say square of pleasures and comfort, which is the greatest that there is in this city.”

This document dismisses the terminology and meaning of: Huacaypata and Huacapata. It shows that Huacapata’s original name was Haucaypata, which means an area of pleasure and comfort, it coincides with the development of the most important Incan religious and ceremonial activities.

Archaeological Park Saqsaywaman

The Archaeological Park Saqsaywaman is located three kilometers outside the north of Cusco, on the mountain with the same name. On this approximently 3,000 hectars coexists a rich Andean fauna and flora, emphasazing the presents of llamas, kestrels and falcons.

As it is cyclopean architecture, the enormous buildings are of impressive workmenship. Historians of the Spanish conquest claimed it was made for military use but the latest discoveries revealed that it was a religious area for employment purposes. The walls are constructed by enormous boulders, which reach up to nine meters hight and five meters width. Calculations say that the biggest one weighs about 125 tons, raising the question how it was possible to take it there. The giant rocks were but together perfectly without the use of any cement or any other sort of adhesive. On its main area the evocation of Inti Raymi is celebrated each year.

WHAT TO EAT?

The best of Cusco’s gastronomy – in this guide you´ll find the most representive Andean flavors in foods and drinks, which are a must try during your visit to the navel of the world.

CHICHA DE JORA

Known as aqha in Quechua, is a Peruvian drink that has been consumed by Andean people since ever, its main ingredient is fermented corn or sprouts known as wiñapo. It`s still handmade nowadays and it can be found in picanterías (traditional restaurants with food from firewood) y chicherías (taverns where chicha is served). Each region has its own way to prepare it, in the north they use for example carob; quinoa, “cañigua” (which is kiwicha), “molle” (pepper tree), purple corn , “oca” (native South American tuber) and chuño (a freeze-dried potato is usted in the mountains; yuca (cassava) is used in the dschungel. The chicha is consumed and has been consumed for its nutritional and refreshing value, but also for its religious function. In the present it fullfills a social function and it is part of every “pago a la tierra” (payment to the earth) or tinka (libation to animals) ceremony. In these ceremonies a little of the Chicha de Jora gets sprinkel on the ground to say thanks to the “Apus” (God of the mountains) and to the godess Pachamama (mother earth).

CHIRIUCHU

A celebratory dish and symbol of the richness of the products in Cusco. Translatet from Quechua it means cold food or cold spicy, it is like a snack that consists of corn tortilla, toasted corn, cheese, cuy (guinea pig), chicken, jerky, salt meat, seaweed, highland sausage, caviar and rocoto, which are all cook with exception of the cuy, which is roasted.This meal is pre-hispanic and in the present it is offered at every national holiday in the traditional neighborhoods in Cusco. It is also eaten on Corpus Christi, which is always on a Thursday and generally in June, it is the most important religious holiday in Cusco since Tahuantinsuyo, when the panacas made procession for their mummies and later the Spanish included images of their saints and virgins to these procession.

TIMPU O PUCHERO

This stew is typical for the carnival season as for the days compadres and comadres (godfather`s and godmother`s day). This dish holds different meats, fruit, vegetables and regional pulses. A big chunck brisket of beef, the head of a lamb, and bacon besides other meats are cooked. When the water is boiling, whole leaves of cabbage, potatoes, chickpeas and rice are added. In a sperate pot sweet potatoes, peaches, pears and yucas are boiled. The remaining concentrated bouillon from the cooking process is used to acompany the dish. And we are waiting the whole year for this dish.

LECHÓN

Another dish that represents a celebration is roasted pork or ´”lechón”, which we can find during local holidays in restaurants, markets and sales stands. It is also served on small parties of certain groups or families, where one person is in charge, to celebrate rituales of their own saints. For the lechón, it has to be a female pig that ist`t lactating anymore. It can be acompanied with “moraya” (dehydrated potato), tamales or bread. The lechón prepared in Paucartambo and Huarocondo are very popular for its preperation method and for the traditions in its villages.

PEPIÁN DE CUY Y CUY AL HORNO

The guinea pig meat is very healthy and has been consumed in the Andes pervasively. The Pepián consists of a corn stew, guinea pig meat, seasoned onion and ají. After skinning this American rodent in boiling water, it is then gutted and cut into four pieces, which are then sprinkled with cornflour to be fried in hot oil. In another saucepan a dressing with onion, garlic and ají is prepared. The fried guinea pig and also peanuts are added to the dressing. The dish is served with rice and boiled potatoes. For the roasted guinea pig different condiments are added before putting it into the oven. It can be acompanied with noodles, potatoes, creole salad and fried yuca.