Exploring the ancient capital of the Inca Empire was my definitely on my bucket list. What I could have never imagined was the damage that the altitude was going to do with me during the first two days of travel. How crazy! I had already been in places even higher than Cuzco and had never felt this bad, but in Cuzco it was difficult. Upon arriving to the city, I felt so good in the early hours that I thought it would an easy few days in 3444 meters of altitude. Sweet illusion. After a few hours, the world began to spin. I had nausea, fatigue, shortness of breath, chills and even with much sleep, could not sleep at all. A very strange feeling. I drank gallons of coca tea and nothing helped. Terrible. On the third day, dreadful, I went to a pharmacy and bought some indicated pills by the employee to balance the bad symptoms of the altitude. Holy remedy, I survived! And only then, I managed to explore the inca legacy left in the Peruvian region declared heritage of humanity by UNESCO since 1983.
The Inca Empire had a lot of power from 1200 to 1500 A.D. They had a huge territory which went from Argentina to Ecuador. They had a sacred king, considered the son of the sun. In total, the Inca empire had 13 kings. The title was always passed from father to son. They left a great legacy that can be seen in Cuzco, Ollantayytambo, Saqsaywuaman and Machu Picchu.
The heart of Cuzco is the Plaza de Armas. The churches and other buildings that were built on the ruins of old palaces and incas temples. Since the time of the Spanish invasion almost everything was put below, only the stone foundations were left standing which are resistant to earthquakes that happen eventually. This blend of inca-hispanic is the trademark of the architecture of Cuzco. Also be sure to visit San Blas, the neighborhood of artisans, with its narrow streets and stairways; the Santo Domingo convent built on the Temple school dedicated to the Sun god; the Koricancha museum which has inca objects found in excavations and including a mummy; the Archbishop’s Palace built on an inca palace. Away from the center, include the archaeological complexes of Saqsaywuaman, Q’enqo and Pukapukara to your roadmap.