In Cusco, and the Sacred Valley, magnificent ruins await the adventurous traveler. The most famous of all is Machu Picchu.
Cusco is the former capital of the Inca Empire of the Sun. Since the 16th century, Spanish colonial buildings were built atop former Inca Palaces, of which only the foundations remain. Examples in the central Plaza de Armas are the Cusco Cathedral and La Compañia church. Another striking example is Qorikancha, the former golden courtyard of the Temple of the Sun. The Spanish used stones from Sacsayhuaman, an Inca stronghold overlooking the city.
In the Urubamba Valley, or Sacred Valley, visitors can see the mysterious Moray Terraces and the pre-Inca Salt Mines of Maras. Ollantaytambo is a living Inca city and its towering ruins form the start of the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu.
The long-lost Inca bastion was uncovered from the jungle in 1911. It remains a mystery how the Incas managed to stack the heavy granite blocks that make up the city’s buildings so precisely, at high altitude.
Little is also known about how the Incas turned a multi-lingual tribal region in an empire that is now known as one of the greatest civilizations in history.
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