Cusco – a Carnival battle in Plaza de Armas, a rookie fireworks mistake, and the Sacred Valley

Austin and I flew from Lima to Cusco, the city which most people use as a base for their trip to Machu Picchu.

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Cusco used to be one of the Inca empire’s greatest cities.  Walls built by the Incas still remain standing in the city today.  The legend goes that the sun god told the first Inca, Manco Capac, to find the “navel of the earth” and when Manco found it, he founded Cusco in that very spot.

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At the center of Plaza de Armas, Pachachutec, the ninth Inca ruler

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The view is even better at night

Besides Machu Picchu there are lots of great sites with Inca ruins in and around Cusco.  By purchasing el “Boleto Turistico Del Cusco” (Cusco tourist ticket) you can gain access to all of them.

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One of the first sites Austin and I visted was Saqsaywaman (which many tourists not-so-secretly refer to as Sexywoman…) because of its convenient proximity to Cusco.

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The climb to Saqsaywaman starts with a steep walk up Resbalosa Street.  Halfway up there is a good view over Cusco and Plaza de Armas, complete with an Alpaca head poking up.

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If you look close enough at the hill across Cusco you can see the phrase “Viva El Peru Glorioso” has been carved into the grass and shrubbery.

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Saqsaywaman is only a small part of a much bigger scheme conceptualized by Inca Pachachutec, the ninth Inca, who imagined Cusco in the shape of a Puma with Saqsaywaman as the head with 22 zigzagged walls representing the teeth.

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Today only one fifth of the original Saqsaywaman remains because it was the site of a huge battle.

After the Spaniards had begun their conquest over the Incas the Spaniards had put a puppet Inca ruler named Manco in Cusco. In 1536 Manco led a revolt and laid siege to the Spaniards at Saqsaywaman, which led to a nasty battle.

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2 thoughts on “Cusco – a Carnival battle in Plaza de Armas, a rookie fireworks mistake, and the Sacred Valley

  1. Matt, Good post and some spectacular photos. I agree with the “stuff of nightmares” description. Dad

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