On a journey through the ancient capital of the Inca Empire, one of the must-sees of the place is walking and touring the historic center of Cusco. This was proclaimed as World Cultural Heritage by UNESCO in 1983, and today, the “Capital archaeological of South America”, is the most visited destination in Perú and one of the most important in America and the world.
Walking by the Center historic of Cusco is more than a tourist walk. It is trying to understand ancient civilization Inca, one of the most important civilizations in the Americas, which retains many customs and ancient traditions. But at the same time we realize the Andean and Spanish cultures fusion. In the 16TH century, the Spanish conquistadors retained its design, but built churches and colonial buildings on the ruins of the temples and monuments of the Inca city. The Center historic of Cusco is the testimony of the mix of the architectures inca and Hispanic. You can see the confluence of two very different cultures through a walk through its streets and architectural gems.
There are several tours that can be performed on foot and are well-signposted. Please take some time to explore each of the streets of the historic center of Cusco and walking through the narrow cobbled streets. However, to be able to enter some main places you need to buy the tour ticket in Cusco.
What to visit in the Cusco Historic Center?
Among the attractions of the Cusco historic center are:
- Plaza de Armas: Located in the Centre of the city, dates from the time of the Incas, who called it Haucaypata. It was the place where was celebrated the Inti Raymi or Festival of the Sun in Inca times. With the arrival of the Spaniards, the square was transformed; stone arches were built and erected the buildings that surround it until today. Currently there are located the Cathedral, the Church of the company there are also restaurants to taste typical meals and shoppings.
- La Catedral (The Cathedral): It is located opposite the Plaza de Armas. Catholic temple, built where the Inca Viracocha had his real palace. The facade and interior dominates the Renaissance style, with rich in carved cedar and Alder interior decoration. It preserves an important collection of paintings of the Cuzco school and silver objects. Visiting hours: Monday – Sunday 10:00-18:00 hours, including holidays.
- La Iglesia de la Compañía de Jesús (Church of the Company): The original temple was built in 1571 on the grounds of the old Amarucancha, Palace of Inca Huayna Capac. It had to be rebuilt by an earthquake. This church is part of the Andean Baroque route. It has a central nave with 6 side chapels, underground chapels surrounded by mazes and secret passages, in which were buried such notables of the Spanish conquest. Visiting hours: Monday – Sunday 9:00-11:30 hours and 13:00-17:30 hours.
- El Koricancha and Convento de Santo Domingo (Santo Domingo Church): It was the main temple Inca, the Temple of Inti (the God Supreme), a jewel of the architecture Inca. The temple was surrounded of a Crown of gold and all the walls lined in gold plates. To the arrival of the Spanish conquistadores was looted and was built between to banish the veneration to Inti, and on it was built the Catholic Church of Santo Domingo. The convent currently boasts a valuable art gallery with paintings from the 17TH and 18TH centuries.Visiting hours: Monday-Saturday 8:30-17:30 hours / Sunday 14:00-17:00 hours.
- La Iglesia y Convento de La Merced (The Mercy Church): It is located in the Street Mantas s/n, 2 blocks from Plaza de Armas. Baroque style, it was built between 1657 and 1680. The sacristy holds the most precious treasure, an impressive custody in gold and precious stones of 1.3 meters high and 22 kg. of weight, crowned by a great Pearl Mermaid, considered the second largest in the world. Visiting hours: Monday-Saturday 8:00-12:00 hours and 14:00-17:00 hours.
- San Blas Neighborhood: It is the artistic and Bohemian Cusco neighborhood since they live there and have their numerous workshops, like the Mendivil, Olave and Merida families. It os located in a high part of the city, 4 blocks of the Plaza de Armas. It has narrow, steep streets and beautiful colonial-style houses.
- Templo de San Blas (Church of San Blas): Located in front of Plaza San Blas. It is a Catholic Temple, built during the Spanish colony and has a pulpit that is a jewel of priceless carved in wood. Visiting hours: Monday-Saturday 8:00-18:00 hours / Sun. and holidays 10:00-18:00 hours.
- Iglesia y Convento de San Francisco (Church of San Francisco): Located opposite the Plaza San Francisco s/n. It has two facades and a only tower of stonework. Inside it stands a great work of Juan Espinoza de los Monteros measuring 12 by 9 meters and which portrays the genealogy of the Franciscan family.
- La Casa del Inca Garcilaso de la Vega (House of the Inca Garcilaso de la Vega): Located in the corner of the streets Garcilaso and Heladeros. Admission fee. Headquarters of the Regional Historical Museum of Cusco since 1984, exhibition of pictorial works of the Escuela Cusqueña. Visiting hours: Monday – Sunday 8:00-19:00 hours.
- La Casa del Almirante (House of the Admiral): It exhibits archaeological pieces of the Inca culture and objects and furniture of the colonial era. It is an old colonial House with stone facade that belonged to Admiral Francisco Aldrete Maldonado. It is located on Admiral Street N ° 103.