Cusco

Overview

Introduction

Located about 370 mi/600 km southeast of Lima, the city of Cusco, Peru, is the ancient capital of the Incan Empire, situated high in the Andes.

There are numerous versions of the Incan creation myth. One legend says that Manco Capac and his sister-consort, Mama Ocllo, descended from the sun and settled on the Island of the Sun (Isla de Sol) in sacred Lake Titicaca and founded the Inca empire in Cusco, creating the huancaypata—today's Plaza de Armas—as the symbolic center of the empire. The Inca word cusco means "navel" or "center."

As the most-visited city in Peru, Cusco (also sometimes spelled Cuzco or and Q'osqo) serves as the center of the tourist trade, with more than 2 million visitors annually.

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