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Cuzco
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Cuzco

The Church of La Compania on the Plaza de Armas in Cusco

Cuzco or Cusco (Quechua Qosqo, population 300,000), is a city in southeastern Peru in the Huatanay Valley of the Andes mountain range. It is the capital of the department of Cusco.

Cuzco is a high altitude city (~3400 meters/11,024 feet above sea level) of moderate size. Its name, in the Quechua language, means "navel"; it was the capital and cultural center of the Tawantinsuyu - the Incan Empire. Legend states that in the 11th or 12th century Manco Capac founded Cusco. The granite walls of the Inca Palace are still standing, and monuments like the Korikancha, or Sun Temple. Other great sites are the citadel of Machu Picchu, and the fortress of Sacsayhuaman.

After the fall of the Empire in the 16th century (1532) to the Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro, Spanish colonists invaded the city. Many buildings after that are of Spanish influence with a mix of Indian architecture, including the Santa Clara, and San Blas. Often, Spanish buildings are juxtaposed atop the massive stone walls built by the Inca.

Located in the Huatanay Valley there is strong agriculture, including corn, barley, quinoa, tea and coffee, and gold mining.