Before we left to embark on our journey to Peru, those who have been to this magical land told us many beautiful tales of one place in particular, Cusco, a city that seems to be the thief of hearts to all Peru visitors.
The highest of all Peruvian lands that we visited, at the altitude of 11,000 feet above sea level, Cusco is the kind of dreamscape that renders writers speechless.
What immediately first meets your eyes are colors, bright charming colors that linger from the skirts of native Inca women to the rich brown windows and doors, then the soul of the city is quickly shared with you from the warmth of locals, encouraging your infatuation with Cusco into a full-blown love affair.
At 11,000 feet up in the Andes, Cuzco hardly seems a natural habitat for humans, and yet this place served as the capital of the Incan Empire, the only advanced isolated civilization to emerge south of the equator. What one comes to understand though traveling in Peru, is that high and low is precisely the nature of this place, both literally and figuratively. The Incas were a flourishing culture, wealthy in gold, silver, and knowledge who conquered vast areas of South America not by force, but by adoption and influence. However, once the Spanish arrived it wasn’t long before their palaces high in the mountains were diminished to ruins to serve as foundations of colonial architecture we see today, their bloodlines, traditions, and religions mingled to form the culture found there now. The history is a violent one, but the native and colonial melody of modern day Cuzco and greater Peru is romantic.
For more Peru travel, see my Lima Chapter here…