Travel News: Cusco Candidate for New 7 Wonders

Mar 13 07:47 2012 Matthew Barker Print This Article

Read about why Cusco is a good candidate for the honor of New 7 Wonders Cities. The former imperial Inca city boasts an impressive history.

Cusco has been nominated as a candidate in the competition to name the New 7 Wonders Cities,Guest Posting organized by the foundation of the same name. The imperial Inca city is running against a field of 303 other cities around the world that also seek to gain this distinction. This is the second stage of the process after the initial nomination process. The third stage will begin in December when a panel of experts will narrow down the field to 28 finalists.

In Peru, only Lima and Cusco advanced to this second round. These cities are competing with other top South American destinations such as Buenos Aires, Rio de Janeiro, Mendoza, Punta del Este, Bogotá, and La Paz, among others.

Within South America, Cusco holds the distinction of being among the most historied. It was the seat of the Inca Empire, whose domination extended up and down the Pacific Coast and across the Andes. Cusco had the most magnificent and monumental of the Empire’s edifices, all displaying incredibly fine stonework. Each Inca had his own palace, and they were arrayed around the present-day Plaza de Armas. The Qoricancha, the Temple of the Sun where over 4,000 priests lived, was practically laminated with gold and silver. Life-size statues of animals, crafted from precious metals, littered the temple’s gardens. The mummies of Incas were venerated here. A conquering Inca, after victory in battle and territorial victories, would conduct ritual sacrifices in the temple to thank the gods.

Cusco was also the site of the greatest clash between civilizations in the Western Hemisphere, second only to Mexico in the bloodiness of the conquest. Although the main battles and the capture of the last Inca Atahuallpa took place away from Cusco, it was here, on the Plaza de Armas where the political theater of conquest played out. Executions were common on the Plaza and victims included representatives of the Inca well as Spaniards who were on the losing side of battles for political control.

Although the capital of the Peruvian viceroyalty was established in Lima, where administrative control would remain, Cusco retained its political importance, perhaps for its symbolic weight. In the 1780s, Tupac Amaru II, leader of one the last armed rebellions against Spanish control, was violently executed on the Plaza de Armas.

Today, this long history is evident everywhere in Cusco. The archaeological ruins at Sacsayhuaman are thrilling for their massive scale and astronomical curiosities. However, even within Cusco, remnants of Inca walls and stones are visible around the Plaza. The Cathedral and other churches were constructed from huge Inca stones. Other walls were kept intact and Spanish building were constructed on top of them. The Archbishop’s Palace is one example and the Santo Domingo Church atop the curved wall of the Qoricancha is another.

For its long history and present-day beauty, Cusco is a more than worthy candidate for the honor of greatest 7 cities in the world.

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Matthew Barker
Matthew Barker

This Cusco travel news update was written by a travel-loving Peru vacationsexpert at Peru For Less, a member of the Latin America For Less family.  Latin America For Less offers fully customizable Cusco vacation packages as well as complete South America vacation service to other Latin American destinations, including Peru, Brazil, Argentina, Costa Rica, Ecuador, Chile and Bolivia.

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