• Russell Roy

Cusco, Capital of the Inca Empire

Updated: Mar 14, 2021

The Inca history runs deep in Cusco despite the Spanish invasion in 1533. At first glance, Cusco looks like a 16th century Spanish city. The main square, Plaza del Armas, is simply beautiful surrounded by stone churches, restaurants and the magnificent Cusco Cathedral. The central fountain is crowned by the Inca King Pachacutec.

The Inca heritage stills runs deep as most of the major Spanish buildings are built on Inca foundations. The list of Inca foundations includes the cathedral. In fact, the old city layout remains as the Incas built it. A beautiful view of the Plaza del Armas can be found atop a nearby mountain. At 3,400 metres (11,200 ft) elevation, you may feel the walk up in your lungs.

A short drive from the city centre takes you to the Inca ceremonial fort of Sacsayhuaman along with Inca ruins and agricultural works including a tiered fountain that still functions 500 years hence. The fountain also provides a glimpse into the amazing stone work that is an Inca trademark.

One of the more impressive feats of the Incas was the size of stones they moved considering that they never developed the wheel. It is easy to feel humbled and small contemplating their stone work accomplishments.