Introduction to Cusco
Cusco is perhaps the most fascinating city in the western hemisphere. As the capital of the Inca Empire - the largest empire in the Americas prior to that of the Spanish - Cusco was tremendously important as a political, religious and spiritual center, to the extent that the Inca’s referred to it as the “Home of Gods”. The actual name Cusco – derived from the Quechua word Qosqo – literally meant "navel of the world" due to the fact that Cusco served as a hub for a vast network of roads linking an empire that spanned across a large chunk of South America.
Cusco entered the Spanish colonial domain in 1534 when it finally succumbed to the forces of Francisco Pizarro, who subsequently initiated the construction of a Spanish city on top of what remained after a bloody and destructive conquest. This vivid and vibrant history is what makes the city so intriguing today – the architecture is a combination of two radically different cultural styles: the masterful stonework of Inca masons was built upon by the elegant colonial styling of the Spanish conquerors.
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