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CUSCO CITY TOUR

 

When this ancient city was the Tawantinsuyo's Capital it also must have been the biggest and most important metropolis of the continent (without chauvinism, neither willing to remove value of some other pre-Columbian cities in America). There are opposing discrepancies about the city's population during its apogee; they arose because of the very superficial and imaginary existing data given by the first chroniclers, and because today it is difficult to measure the demographic concentration existing by that time. Pedro Sancho de la Hoz, a Spanish soldier who acted as Pizarro's secretary, wrote in 1543 that in the city were found more than 100,000 houses. Victor Angles, by deduction based on some chronicles, states categorically that the population was 300,000 inhabitants. Besides, Santiago Agurto following relative population densities estimates about 126,000 persons for the urban zone and about 100,000 for the rural one, that is, a total population for the Tawantinsuyo's Capital of about 225,000 inhabitants. 

 

The city must have been very well organized according to the classic Inkan City Planning. Its narrow and normally straight streets were properly paved with cobblestones and with channels in the middle or at one side of them conducting clean water that was consumed by the population. The walls of its buildings were made with carved stones, at least in the downtown area, and in the suburbs with mud-brick or "pirka" type walls but lined with painted stucco or plaster made of clay. Its roofs were thatched and very steep. The homes had a considerable scarcity of openings as doorways or windows in order to enable interior heating in cold seasons. In short, it was a pleasant organized city, and without any pollution.

 

 

The ancient Inkan Metropolis was divided into two great sectors from a line formed by the roads leading towards the Antisuyo and Contisuyo, that is, the present-day streets of Triunfo, Hatun Rumiyoq, Cuesta San Blas, and on the other end the streets of Marquez, Santa Clara and Hospital. These two sectors were: towards the north, the Hanan Qosqo, modified form of "Hawan Qosqo" ("Upper Qosqo"), inhabited by the dynasty since the sixth Inkan ruler Inka Roqa. Towards the south was the Urin Qosqo which is a modified form of "Uran Qosqo" ("Lower Qosqo"); preferred since the founder of the Tawantinsuyo, Manko Qhapaq until the fifth ruler Qhapaq Yupanqui.

 

 

Chroniclers state, more over, that the city was divided in different districts that according to Garcilaso Inca de la Vega were 13. Starting on the north and clockwise they were: Qolqanpata or "Storehouses District" present quarter of San Cristobal; Kantupata or "Kantu Flowers District" (today "Kantu" -Cantua buxifolia- is the Peruvian national flower); Pumakurko, or the "Puma's Spinal Column", the main street of this district still keeps its original name; T'oqokachi or "Hollow Salt", that today is located in the San Blas quarter; Munay Senqa or district of the "Pretty Nose" located in present-day Recoleta; Rimaq Panpa or "Speaking Plaza", present Limaqpampa square; Pumaq Chupan or "Puma's Tail", located in the area of present-day fountain in front of the Savoy hotel; K'ayao Cachi o "Salt Formation" in the present district of Qoripata; Ch'akill Chaka corresponding to the present-day neighborhoods of Santiago and Belen; Piqchu that means "summit or mountain" still keeps its name; K'illipata or "Kestrel District" (k'illichu = Kestrel -sparrow hawk-) located before Piqchu; Karmenqa present district of Santa Ana; Wakapunku or "Temple Doorway", present-day Saphi street. Nevertheless, Cusquenian scholar Manuel Chávez Ballón states that there were 12 districts, suppressing Pumakurko and K'illipata but adding Qoripata, and that they were distributed in groups of 3 following the four Suyos or quarters.

 
Video of the City Tour in Cusco
 
   


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