<<  Cuzco and Sacred Valley, 30-Jun-2015  >>

The Incan Empire

Cuzco which used to be the capital of the Incan Empire, then Spanish headquarters of their colony of Peru and now amazingly preserved colonial town full of backpackers, souvenir, bars and balconies

“Hmm, it looks like another Spanish town” – Irene’s point of view on Cuzco :-) Because I haven’t seen so many Spanish towns, and I’m surely not as used to them as Irene, I am amazed by Cuzco. The historic center is 5 times larger than that of Bratislava, and that is well deserved, as Cuzco’s historical importance was 100 times that of Bratislava. This was the capital of mighty Incan empire, and this was the headquarters of Spain’s colonial domination in Peru. Beautiful colonial houses (often build atop of older Incan buildings) with wooden terraces, cobbled terraces, beautiful handcrafts…

To be honest, compared to Huaraz and Otuzco, Cuzco is bit of Disneyland. You will not find really Andean people wearing real ponchos here. Of course there are Peruvian women dressed in most magnificent Peruvian folk costumes, but they are dressed like that for their photo dollar. Cuzco is not really the place of authenticity, but it’s a damn good looking place and has magical atmosphere. One of those backpackers’ wonderlands, with bars, cheap accommodation and cheap food and million unnecessary but beautiful things to buy.
Incan-Spanish fusion is strong here: churches are built atop of stone walls of former Incan temples. The Last supper picture in local cathedral features cuy (guinea pig) as Jesus’s last dish :-) Alpaca steak with Cuzquena beer. We spend few days just enjoying Cuzco and trips to “Sacred Valley”, full of Incan ruins and extreme oversupply of Peruvian handcrafts and souvenirs. Nothing extraordinary happened, but this is surely one great destination! But it drains your wallet really fast, with so much to see, do and buy.

Apart from Cuzco we visited village of Pisac famous for its market and fascinating salt pans of Salinas, where minerals-rich creek fills hundreds of tiny pools where the water evaporates and leaves huge deposits of salt. It looks like surrealistic, white terraces going down the hill and blinding your eyes by all their whiteness.

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     MARCEL STRBAK | www.strbak.com | www.facebook.com/marcel.strbak