Discover the City of Cusco in 360° video
Cusco, located around 3,400 m (11,200 ft) altitude, near the Urubamba Valley of the Andes mountain range in southeastern Peru, is the capital of the Cusco Region and of the Cusco Province. Its population was 428,450 in 2017.
From the 13th until the 16th-century Spanish conquest, Cusco was the historic capital of the Inca Empire. The Constitution of Peru designates it as the Historical Capital of Peru.
In 1983, Cusco was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO receiving the title “City of Cuzco”, becoming a major tourist destination with nearly 2 million visitors a year.
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Cusco has a subtropical highland climate, and it is usually dry and temperate, with two defined seasons. From April to September (winter) there is abundant sunshine and occasional nighttime freezes; July is the coolest month with an average temperature of 9.7 °C (49.5 °F) average. From October to March (summer), the weather turns cloudy and wet; November is the warmest month with 13.3 °C (55.9 °F) average. Temperatures range between −8.9 and 30 °C (16.0 and 86.0 °F).
In 2006 Cusco was found to be the spot with the highest average ultraviolet light level on Earth.
5 locations you have to visit
Plaza de Armas de Cusco: Known as the “Square of the warrior” in the Inca era, this plaza has been the scene of several important events, such as the proclamation by Francisco Pizarro in the conquest of Cuzco. Plaza de Armas was the scene of the death of Túpac Amaru II, considered the indigenous leader of the resistance.
Barrio de San Blas: A neighborhood of artisans, workshops and craft shops. It is one of the most picturesque sites in the city with steep and narrow streets and old houses built by the Spanish over important Inca foundations. It has an attractive square and the oldest church in Cusco, built in 1563.
Hatun Rumiyuq (“the one with the big stone”): This is the most visited street with the palace of Inca Roca (converted to the Archbishop’s residence), and the Stone of Twelve Angles (a marvel of ancient stonework) which is considered emblematic to the city’s history.
Convento e Iglesia de la Merced: Founded in 1536, destroyed by the earthquake in 1650, and rebuilt in 1675. It stands out for its Baroque Renaissance style cloisters, choir stalls, colonial paintings, wood carvings, and an elaborate monstrance made of gold and gemstones that weighs 22 kg (49 lb) and is 130 cm (51.18 in) in height.
Iglesia del Triunfo: Built in 1539, is the first cathedral built in Cusco on the foundations of the Palace of Viracocha Inca. Today, this church is an auxiliary chapel of the Cathedral. The main basilica cathedral of the city was built between 1560 and 1664.