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Added: July 13, 2010

Tags: Peru RTW SouthAmerica church city photos ruins
Capital of former Incan empire, Cuzco is wonderful. We liked it a lot. There are hints of Incan architecture and also colonial. It is quite touristy, I haven't seen so many touts at one place before, but there has to be some price you pay for famous place.

We spent morning exploring centre of city and we will go afternoon to nearby places (it will be a separate post). We were not in a hurry, those a few places we wanted to see can be handled in half a day. The worse "problem" is Peruvian approach to tickets. You cannot buy any individual ticket, there are only for 10 days and the cheaper is I think for 3 days with limited number of attractions. It might not be bad deal if you stayed in Cuzco longer, but we were bound to leave soon.

Plaza de Armas

We started our sight-seeing at main square. We found an accommodation quite close, because everything we wanted to see was around.

It was morning, there were not many active tourists yet, still touts were already present. They don't offer only guided tours and taxi, but also restaurants. Probably for breakfast.

Sun was rather low, sky was covered with white clouds, so that dark churches did not look at the photos well. We need to return later, but that's not a problem.





Let's go to see some Incan walls. Street with name Loreto is nice alleyway starts from Plaza de Armas. Walls there are our first proper Incan walls and they are amazing. But that's nothing compared to those we are going to see soon.

After we got to other end we looped back around in order to buy our Boleto Turístico at Avenida del Sol. After short study what we could do with it we decided to visit also some museum and gallery nearby (near Plaza Regocijo). Bad news is they are quite disappointing, but the good news is they are rather small.

Doesn't it look wonderfuly?

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Backyard of Iglesia de La Compañía de Jesús. A photo of frontal view was not possible in the morning, it was too dark.

Profesional models

Whole centre of Cuzco is full of professional models. Women in traditional (or just colourful) dresses, usually with small child and some of them with a little llama are waiting for tourists to take photo of them. The price is 1 Sol, but they try everything possible to get another Sol. Like "But we are two", or "This boy belongs to other mother" and similar. At one occasion a pedestrian started to argue with them on behalf of us, and told us "1 Sol is fair price".

All other locals are not dressed in this manner. Only those hunting tourists.

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Must to see walls

Let's continue with more walls. We still don't need to go far. Another street starting Plaza de Armas - Calle Triunfo - will lead you to even nicer showcase of Incan craft. This time they got really crazy.

These walls were perfectly designed to withstand earthquakes happening around quite often. Many colonial buildings including churches were destroyed during earthquakes, buy these walls survived without a scar.

Colonial buildings were built over those, using their solid grounding.
Street in Cuzco with Incan walls

A bit more complicated masonry, huh?
Incan wall in Cuzco

But check this out! How nicely they fit.

And this is the famous stone with 12 sides. Don't be afraid you could miss it. There will be plenty of locals there pointing to it.
12-sided stone at Hatunrumiyoc in Cuzco

Old local masons mastered all 3 dimensions.
Incan wall in Cuzco

To higher grounds

A couple we chatted with in hostel yesterday evening suggested we could go for lunch to Govinda at Carmen Bacho (I hope I got it right, it was 5 months ago...). It is bit higher, but quite close to street with nice walls. We used this opportunity to look around.

They were right, the lunch was very good and owner readily adapted daily menu to comply with Zuzka's allergy. Kudos!

Streets are in worse shape around.

Coca Museum with store :-)      DSC_1008



On our way back we met previously photographed "models" while they were resting. This photo was free, I did not tell them, but they started with cheating... :-) (if you look closely, you will see hat and brighter red sweater of the 2nd woman).

Cathedral of Santo Domingo

We returned back to Plaza de Armas. Sun was finally in better to take photos of Cathedral of Santo Domingo and attached 2 churched.

We went also inside, as part of our afternoon city tour. It was very nice, again there were clear signs of Andean influence on decoration. But it was not possible to take photos inside :-(

Cathedral of Santo Domingo in Cuzco


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The better view of Iglesia de La Compañía de Jesús at Plaza de Armas. Sun moved enough to allow good photo.


This is good example how colonial architecture overgrown original Incan structure. It was originally Incan temple where walls were covered by gold. Spaniards decided to melt down all gold and build a convent and church here.

It is quite nice from distance, but it was pretty sad sight to see contrast between fine Incan stone walls and crude colonial walls.

I think I understand the point of rebuilding this place to be church, but at least they should try harder... What they've done looks like result of a small child trying to help daddy, but instead ruining everything. And I suspect they were also similarly proud of their achievement :-)




Only place we have seen where stones were not fitting. We were told there is a fault underneath of this wall.