Cusco Historical & Archaeological sites

Museums

Natural History Museum– The Plaza De Armas plays host to this university run museum which mainly focuses on the wildlife of Peru. It hold 150 specimens of local amazonian birds, reptiles and arachnids. Located: Plaza De Armas

Museo Inka – This Archaeology museum follows Cusco’s history of the Inca period up until the 20th century. It gives you a deep understanding of the transitions, tribulations and transformations of the culture and city. Location: Ataud 154, Cusco 08002

Museo de Arte Precolombino – Specifically focused on ancient purvian art, its archaeological finds of pre-columbian Incan art. It holds over 450 representative artifacts of this type. Located: Nazarenas 231, Cusco 08002

Museo Machu Picchu – Home to the largest collection of artifacts of Machu Picchu in the world, if the ancient city is of interest to you during your visit we highly recommend you get more in depth knowledge and connection through visiting this museum. Location: 320 Santa Catalina Ancha, Cusco, Peru 080101

Choco Museo – A museum based around the cultivation and production of Chocolate. Get to taste the products and buy some things for you way home. Located:Calle Garcilaso 210, Cusco 08002

Museo del Cafe – Gives guided tours of their production system, the history of coffee in Peru and allows for tasters and experiences including making your own cafe art. Located:Espaderos 136, Cusco 08000

Churches

Cusco Cathedral – As the dominating feature of the main plaza it’s hard not not notice its sheer magnitude. This Basilica took over a 100 years to complete and along with its impressive title it is also under the protection of UNESCO as a World Heritage site. It’s encapsulated by steps leading to its entrance, which on a summer day are just perfect to sit and eat ice cream whilst soaking in the plaza and all its marveled architecture.

Iglesia, Museo y Convento de San Francisco – This historical monument not only includes the main body of the church holding a caring of 93 saints in cedar wood but the largest Bell tower in the city. It also plays host to the catacombs within the city. It’s evangelical history is shown off through the decor and architecture which is protected as a ‘cultural heritage of humanity’ site.

Iglesia De La Compania De Jesus (Church of the Society of Jesus) – Located in the center of the city, this Church was built after the spanish conquest and shows of the famous Baroque architecture they were infamous for. With a rich history, lavish interior and impressive architecture, this is a spot to hit for any history, art, religious or cultural buffs.

Ruins

Coricancha– ‘The Temple of the sun’ now only ruins that are hosted inn a reconstruction of a modern church was once one of the most significant religious places in Cusco. The Spanish destroyed the majority of this site for its grandeur. Its interior was once layered in precious metals including gold and silver. Along side the Sun temple within there is also the rainbow temple, fountains and solar garden and temple of Venus and the stars.

Sacsayhuaman– 4km from the center is the monumental structure of Sacsayhuaman. Thought to be one of the most sophisticated archaeological designs of its time. Encompassing living quarters, towers, shrines, storage rooms, roads and aqueducts within its confines. Some of the stone structures way up to 125 tonnes with expert masonry work.

Puka Pukara – Only 6km (15min by car) at an altitude of 3580 meters above sea level lies ‘The Red Fortress’ , an archaeological complex which holds ancient military ruins of the Incas. As a ‘Tambo’ it has a fortified appearance with high walls, inner plazas and compartments.

Tambomachay – Approx 7km outside of Cusco at 3,700 meters above sea level is Tambomachay.One of its most overt features is its location which is directly over a natural spring which allows a series of small aqueducts, canals, and waterfalls to be replenished constantly. Due to this it is suspected that this was the site of the Incan Bath house.

Qenqo Temple – 15 minutes outside the city (by car) is the mysterious ruins of ‘Qenqo’ roughly translated into ‘ Labyrinth’. This gigantic monolith carving of a temple has been deciphered as an extremely holy place which served as a place for death rituals, judgment and sacrifice.