Thursday, June 18, 2009

Cusco and Surrounding Areas

Who doesn't just love Cusco? It's one of the main places to see if you're traveling along the Gringo Trail and a must see if you come to Peru. Cusco is the historic capital of the Inca Empire and was declared a World Heritage Site in 1983 by UNESCO. It is full of tourists not only from Peru but from all around the world. Even though its urban sprawl is slowly creeping up and taking over the surrounding hillsides, Cusco is a feast for the eyes. It's full of colonial architecture, majestic churches, quaint inns and restaurants, colorful plazas, and ancient Incan ruins. Some of its streets are so narrow that two people will have difficulty passing by each other without rubbing shoulders. When we were there, the skies were brilliant blue, the temperatures balmy and warm, and the streets buzzing with activities. Here are some typical scenes we came across as we explored Cusco's fascinating neighborhoods...

Cusco's residents are very proud of their country...

That's the city as seen from the Fortress of Sucsayhuaman...

We had a nice view from our hotel room, too...

But after a while, the rooms all look alike...

The main plaza...

The plaza and cathedral in the early morning light...

Arched walkways line the plaza...




Many of the homes have colorful balconies...

Too many churches to count...



There are lots of interesting restaurants in the city...

More of those intricately carved balconies...




Early morning rush hour...

But this street is still quiet...

Original stone walls...


You'll never run out of restaurant choices here!

What lies beyond those doors?

So many narrow, winding streets...

Give her a couple of soles and she'll let you take her photo...

Conducting business on the street...

In these warm temperatures, we didn't need any sweaters...

The local markets are always fun to explore...


A playful child with Barney...

Knitting is a big hobby here...

One more church...

Typical walled street view...

Overlooking the tiled rooftops...

A school girl heading off to class...

Please let me in!

Inside the courtyard of the Christian temple built over 
the sacred ruins of the Temple of the Sun...

The Temple of the Sun or Koricancha...

The Spanish built Convent of Santo Domingo...

Another typical scene...

Overlooking the Fortress of Sucsayhuaman 
(about 2 km from Cusco)...

Sacsayhuaman...

Tourist shop near Tambomachay...

Hmm, are those llamas or alpacas?

Full moon over Cusco...

Yikes! That's the airport down there...
I could have explored Cusco for weeks, but Machu Picchu is calling.

2 comments:

Oz Girl said...

Just gorgeous, all of it. I love Cusco's plaza, and the very historic church on the plaza, the architecture is beautiful. I had to enlarge some of the photos and then I really had a better feeling for the environment. The cobblestone streets are lovely too!

Chako-chan said...

I enjoyed visiting this beautiful historical place. I too hope that it will be preserved.