22 March 2015

Cusco Cuzco

I arrived in Cusco after flying all night from Indianapolis to Peru. Needless to say, I was shattered, but this was my opportunity to see Cusco before heading on my trek, so after showering off at my hostel, I headed out. Cusco is a city at an elevation of over 12,000 feet, and so it takes us flatlanders a day or two to truly acclimate to the altitude. Additionally it is a city built in the mountains, so the streets are steep and many sidewalks are steps. 

I headed downhill to the Plaza de las Armas and began to explore. The plaza is lovely, the sun was bright, the water in the fountain sparkled and people sat around enjoying the day. 

Off of the Plaza is the Basílica Catedral. This cathedral was recently restored. Inside, I was given an iPad to use for a self-guided tour. During this tour I learned that Cusco was built by the Spaniards to serve as aseat for which they ruled the colonies. The main altar within the cathedral is made of cedar and sycamore wood and covered (not painted) with leaves of 24 carat gold. The Basílica took over 100 years to construct. Inside were a number of beautiful altars and paintings. I was not allowed to take photos.

Afterwards I continued to wander the city and explore some of the other small squares. It was a nice city to explore, but I know that I really only saw the tip of the iceberg. 

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