Cusco Travel Blog› entry 49 of 92 › view all entries
Following Arequipa we took a flight (cheating I know, but not entirely my fault) to charming, wonderful Cusco. Everyone I´d previously met had had good things to say bout Cusco, though I was wary it would be too touristy, but not so in the off season.
The city was the capital of the Inca empire and when the Spanish came they simply built on top of some of the existing stone walls, with the result that you occasionally come across a bit of Incan stone work and the place has extremely narrow and steep cobbled streets which can just about fit a small taxi (frequently whizzing past) and a person at the same time though rarely safely! (For obvious reasons this turned out not to be the best place to recover from a sprained ankle!).
The first sight of the main square in Cusco was also a wonderful experience, as the place is full of colonial buildings with lovely balconies, and is dominated by the Cathedral and an equally grand church. It turned out that at night (I think just because Christmas was approaching) models of llamas and other animals were lit up in an effective festive manner, quite amusing to observe when getting quite drunk in one of the overlooking bars! And the square was also the scene of the fantastic Christmas Eve market (see later entry) and the firework-induced carnage that followed in the early hours of Christmas Day.
Cusco also has a number of museums/churches to visit, including the impressive gold-clad altar of the Church of La Compañia de Jesus on the main square, and the remnants of the Inca temple of the Sun which the Spanish rather typically ransacked, melted down any gold ornaments and built a church (Santo Domingo) on!