Arrival in Cusco

After a fitful nights sleep on the over night bus from Copacabana we arrived in Cuzco at 6.30am. From the start the city looked very appealing with its Spanish colonial feel coupled with Inca statues and the local Quechuan people.
Our hostel was a short walk from the main square and apon arrival we dumped our bags and went about exploring the city. The first thing we had to do was organize our Machu Picchu tickets and transportation. Which we managed surprisingly easily. We then had the day to explore the city. 
Cuzco was what the Incas called the navel of the world. So pretty much the middle of their Empire and everything spread out from there. By all accounts the city was magnificent with beautiful temples and palaces built with the Incas amazing stone work and filled with gold, silver and precious jewels. However when the Spanish came and conquered they destroyed the place, tearing down the temples and using the foundations and stones to build their churches. 
So when you walk around it actually feels and looks more like a Spanish town which in itself is very beautiful but you can’t help but feel that it would have been nice to see the place as the Incans had designed it.
We had the option of buying some all in one tickets to see a variety of museums and churches so we spent most of the day wandering from one to another.
It was quite strange because in most of the churches when you arrive what is described is the Incan significance of the place, but then when you enter what you see is a Spanish church with a few Incan remains scattered about the place. The whole thing seems a little incongruous.
The best bit I felt about Cusco was the feel you got walking around the place as its really very pretty city. Cusco was described as having a really cool balance between being an authentic city and a touristy destination. It’s true the feel of the city really combines the two really well.
We are so glad that we have a couple of days here to look forward to after Machu Picchu. T   

A view over the centre of Cusco
  

The main square and our hotel is just up on the right hand side.

  

The Incan brickwork has survived incredibly well and has been retained as the foundations for many of the buildings.
  

This used to be the site of an amazing Incan temple with walls covered in gold.  Unfortunately the Spanish took all the gold, destroyed the temple and built this church on top.

  

An old Incan room.

   

The main cathedral on the main square.  It was actually pretty spectacular inside, particularly the area where the choir sat.  As we were here in the lead up to Christmas there was often a huge queue of people outside waiting to get in for a service.

 

It’s hard to believe that these are the size of many of the streets around the centre.  The best bit is though that they are not all one way!
    

A very Spanish look to certain parts of the place.
    
The square was full of market stalls in the week before Christmas.  They were all selling materials in order to make your nativity crib!

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