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Cusco is the home of the Sun God, Inti, and the center of the Incan universe. Located high in the Andean mountains, Cusco sits at an altitude of 3,326 meters above sea level and is home to about 400,000 people. It has many Incan walls and structures, as well as houses and churches from the colonial times.
From Cusco, you can visit the many ruins in the area, such as Sacsayhuaman, Q'enko, Tambomachay, Puca Pucara, Machu Picchu, Pisac, and Ollantaytambo. Many treks are available in this area, as well as day hikes, white water rafting, and horseback riding.
Cusco’s colonial center and the ruins of Sacsayhuaman were declared a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 1983. The narrow streets, which have Spanish palaces built on top of Inca walls, are a delight. There are a number of Incan walls remaining in Cusco, such as those on Calle Hatunrumiyoc, which contains the unique 12-angled stone.
The Plaza de Armas, which is the busy main square, is in the same position as the main square of Inca Cusco, although it is only half the size, with the original square including what is now Plaza Regocijo. The Cathedral and the Iglesia de La Compañía are the highlights of the square.
The Church of San Blas contains one of the most interesting attractions in the entire city – a famous carved wooden pulpit. This church was built in the mid 16th century on the site of the Inca Temple of Thunder and Lightening. The walk up to the Church of San Blas is through some of the most tranquil and beautiful in Cusco.
The most important building in Cusco is the colonial monastery of Santo Domingo. It was built on the foundations of Qorikancha (courtyard of gold), and is the most important religious site in the Inca Empire. This was the location of the most important temples in all of the Inca Empire, which included the Temple of the Sun, Temple of the Moon, Temple of Thunder and Lightening, Temple of the Rainbow and temples to various stars.
The Museo Inka is a fantastic museum containing a fine archaeological collection from all over Peru. The museum has a very good section on the pre-Inca cultures in the Lake Titicaca and Cusco areas, and has some exquisite Wari turquoise mini-sculptures found at Pikillaqta. The section on the Inca culture is very good, and there are some wonderful photos of Machu Picchu when it was first rediscovered.

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