The city of Cusco is situated in the valley of the Huatanay River, in the southeastern Andes of Peru, at an altitude of 3,399 meters above sea level. Named the Archaeological Capital of America, it astonishes with its beauty and unique character, which is the product of the contrasts and combinations created by the meeting of indigenous and European culture, both historically and today.
The enormous Inca walls formed by perfectly fitted huge blocks of stone, upon which the colonial city was constructed, are a distinctive and impressive feature of Cusco’s architecture. Cusco is the product of the fusion of two cultures, and this aspect of its character is reflected in the church of Santo Domingo, which was built over the Coricancha, the ancient Inca Temple of the Sun.
Located in the southwestern part of present-day Peru, the history of Cusco, named the navel of the Earth by its Quechua inhabitants, dates back to 1200 AD, although the most splendid phase of its history began under the rule of the Inca Pachacutec in the 15th century.
Cusco offers a number of attractions that visitors should not miss, including the most prized jewels of its colonial architecture: the attractive Plaza de Armas, surrounded by the majestic profiles of the churches of the Cathedral and La Compañía; the cloister of the church of Santo Domingo, with its impressive 17th century canvasses; the majestic church of the Company of Jesus [Compañía de Jesús], considered one of the greatest achievements of American baroque (17th century); the church of San Blas, with its choir stalls and monumental pulpit carved from wood and measuring nine meters in height and representing the very best of Peruvian baroque art.
The city of Cusco has a semi-dry and cold climate. The maximum annual average temperature is 19.6°C (67.3ºF) and the minimum temperature is 4.2°C (39.6ºF).
The rainy season begins in November and ends in March, and during this period the mountains are covered in green vegetation. Between June and July the cold is more intense, and occasional snowfall has been reported.
Capital: 3399 meters above sea level Cusco) Altitude: Minimum: 532 meters above sea level (Pilcopata) Maximum altitude: 4801 meters above sea level (Suyckutambo)