Cusco and the Sacred Valley, Peru

Located at 3400m above sea level, Cusco was the capital of the Inca empire. The city was founded by the first Inca Mance Capac around the 12th century, then underwent a lot of transformations during the reign of the Inca Pachacutec in the 15th century: by diverting the courses of two rivers, he gave it the shape of a puma, a sacred animal in their culture. When the spanish conquistadors in the 1530s, all the Inca temples were progressively replaced by churches and colonial buildings.
Cusco is also in the middle of the Sacred Valley, where a lot of Inca sites are located. Apart from the Machu Picchu, I visited three of them: the fortifications of Saqsaywaman above Cusco (which used to symbolise the head of the puma), and the ruins of Pisac and Ollantaytambo.
(Click on the pictures to enlarge them – they can be purchased in high resolution for printing, please contact me if you’re interested)

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