Cuzco (World Heritage)

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According to softwareleverage, the city ​​founded by Manco Capac in the 12th century in the Peruvian highlands at an altitude of around 3,400 m was the political and spiritual center of the Inca. After the conquest and destruction of the city by Francisco Pizarro in 1533, the Spaniards built their baroque churches, monasteries and squares on the ruins of the Inca buildings. Among other things, the Jesuit church La Compañía de Jesús was built on the walls of the palace of Huayna Capac and the Santo Domingo monastery on the destroyed Sun Temple, the central sanctuary of the old temple district.

Cuzco: facts

Official title: City of Cuzco
Cultural monument: “Archaeological capital of America” ​​at 3,360 m altitude, including the “Holy Place” (“Huaccaypata”), the former manor house of the Marquise of San Juan de Bueña Vista and Rocafuerte, the admiral’s palace from the 17th century, as well as with the La Compañía church, built on the foundations of the palace of Huayna Capac, and the Santa Catalina monastery, built on the destroyed “Temple of the Virgin Mary”
Continent: America
Country: Peru
Location: Cuzco, southeast of Lima
Appointment: 1983
Meaning: spanish baroque on the ruins of the inca capital

Cuzco: history

1438-93 Under the Inca rulers Pachacutec Yupanqui and Tupac Yupanqui, the Inca capital was at its heyday
11/15/1533 Invasion of Spanish conquerors under Francisco Pizarro
23.3.1534 Foundation of the Spanish Cuzco
after 1544 with the relocation of the capital of the Spanish viceroyalty to Lima, it gradually lost importance
1650 earthquake
1654 Consecration of the cathedral
1668 Completion of the Jesuit church La Compañía
1781 under the leadership of José Gabriel Condorcanqui (Tupac Amarau II) revolt against the Spanish colonial power
1814 Revolt against Spanish rule under the leadership of Pumacahua
1824 End of Spanish colonial rule in Latin America
1950 earthquake

Colonial flair in the heart of the Inca Empire

In the beginning there was a barren, remote high area in the Andes, which the legendary Manco Capac selected around 1200 as the center of a ruling family he founded: the Inca dynasty with its tribal land around Cuzco. It was only through the military expansion of Pachacutec Yupanqui , the ninth of the 13 Inca rulers, that the small mountain principality rose to a mighty empire for a short century and Cuzco to the splendid capital of the empire.

The most talented architects, artists and craftsmen of their time contributed to the construction of the sun and snake temples, the “Temple of the Sun Maiden” and the Sacsayhuamán fortress above the Cuzco basin. Even today, the complex with its three-row wall made of hewn stone blocks weighing tons represents a high point for many Cuzco visitors in both senses of the word. There you roam the time of the Incas, in the host of enslaved workers, under inhuman exertion, the blocks with the help of rollers and ropes pulled in front and piled up over ramps. When the Spanish invaders later wanted to use the walls for their own buildings, they only managed to remove the smaller stones. With the largest – up to nine meters high and 350 tons in weight – they had to fit. Whether Sacsayhuamán was a fortress or a cult center or both at the same time has not yet been sufficiently clarified. And whether the monarch actually sat down on a rock throne above the main square during ceremonies, is left to the imagination of each individual. What cannot be shaken, however, is the architectural masterpiece of the Inca, who put stone on stone with pinpoint accuracy without using mortar.

In Cuzco, for the Inca “navel of the world”, the main traffic routes as well as all cultural, political and economic threads of the empire came together, an empire that was called “Tahuantinsuyu”, was divided into four major regions and came in at the height of its power Territory two and a half times the size of Germany. Cuzco was the seat of the nobility and the almighty, deified sovereign, the direct descendant of the sun. Under him, embedded in strict hierarchies, a perfectly organized state structure spread out. To it belonged governors, military and civil servants from the high nobility as well as regional and local lords. The mass of millions of subjugated tributaries remained completely immature and excluded from the control of the state.

The “megalomaniac sun princes” of the Incas were followed by the Spanish warrior Francisco Pizarro and his followers, who, obsessed with the legends of the Incas’ immeasurable gold treasure, attacked Tahuantinsuyu and Cuzco. In 1536 they fended off a last, desperate counterattack by Prince Manco Capac II on the occupied city. The Spaniards built mansions, churches and convents on the foundations of the Inca buildings. They gave Yupanqui to the ancient metropolis of Pachacuteca new face and transformed Cuzco into a baroque episcopal and university city over time. Today you can feel an unchanged colonial flair around the central squares when you step across the clunky pavement and hear the bells ringing of the cathedral in the arcades of the Plaza de Armas.

Gone are the golden portals and walls of the Coricancha sun temple, which the Spaniards transformed into the Santo Domingo convent. Large parts of the temple treasures had already fallen into the hands of the conquerors before they saw Cuzco: as a ransom for Atahualpa , the last Inca prince whom Francisco Pizarro held prisoner in distant Cajamarca. The willingly paid ransom was of no use to Atahualpa, as he was strangled on Pizarro’s orders. Then the conquistadors moved towards Cuzco in a rush of victory.

Cuzco (World Heritage)


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