city is located in the Southern highlands
of Peru, at 3,400 meters (11,150 ft.) above
It is sunny
and warm during the day but cold at night,
with a main temperature of 15°C (59°F);
nevertheless, the temperature drops at night
in winter (June to September), sometimes,
below 0°C (32°F). The rainy season
is from November to March, however, it usually
rains couple of hours during the day.
Cusco city is surrounded by mountains and
valleys. One of the best places to
go outside of the city is the Urubamba Valley,
known as the "Incas Sacred Valley",
there are snow-capped mountains, eucalyptus
tree forests and corn fields beside the
river. A succession of picturesque
towns with colonial churches, agriculture
terraces and many archaeological sites show
up along the road. The main spots are Pisac,
Ollantaytambo, Maras and Chincheros.
Cusco was the capital of the Inca Empire
which extended through the west coast and
highlands of the South American continent.
Cusco and its surroundings were the first
settlement of the Incas on the early 13th
century. From that moment, the Inca people
developed a kingdom and later an Empire
by conquests and wars, but also by agreements
with other kingdoms in the Southern highlands
(Lake Titicaca region), west coast, and
Northern coast and highlands. Finally, in
the early 16th century, it was a big Empire,
but the arrival of the Spaniards and the
later conquest of the Incas by the Spanish
Crown, stopped their expansion.
In 1533, the Spaniards arrived to Cusco
and founded their own city destroying big
part of the Inca city. They destroyed the
palaces and temples of the Incas to build
on top their churches and mansions. In the
colonial times, Cusco was a very prosperous
city due to the agriculture, the mining
and commerce. The artisans of Cusco became
famous due to their paintings and wood-carvings.
Nowadays, their art can be seen in museums
and churches in Cusco, as the Cathedral,
San Blas Church and the Archbishop's Palace.