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The capital of the Inca Empire is located at an altitude of 3200 m above the sea. The city was the center of a powerful state Tawantinsuyu, which in the XV century subdued the part of the territory of modern Argentina, Ecuador, Bolivia and northern Chile.

Having lived through two major epochs, Cusco could retain the features of each of them. In this mixture of the Inca culture and Spanish traditions a special atmosphere and flavor of the city is represented. Among the buildings of colonial era here and there a foundation or a portion of the wall of Indian temple or house of a noble Inca appears. In the religious procession carrying the Catholic icons there are people with pictures of pagan deities. Among modern-dressed citizens you can meet people, dressed in traditional clothing of Quechuas. All this suggests that the imposition of European culture and religion to local population made for centuries is still not able to stifle the original mentality and traditions of the Indians, because this character is formed over thousands of years.

Cuzco and the ruins in tits outskirts have a magical power, combining on a tiny plot of land illustrations of bygone civilizations, colonial churches and palaces, picturesque markets of nowadays. Since the city is not too large, it’s to better to sightsee it walking. The central part of Cusco is filled with ancient sights of the colonial period. The Cathedral of the Renaissance is the most majestic of them. Its main adornment is a 6-ton Maria Angola bell, cast in gold, silver and bronze. Next to the cathedral is the city's first Catholic church, the church del Triunfo. It was built to commemorate the victory over the Incas. There the "cross of Conquest" is still kept: one of the conquistadors crossed the city at the entrance to Cusco.

Opposite the cathedral is the Jesuit Church Compania de Jesus, built in 1668. There were rumors that the monks had hidden in its recesses 11 million ounces of gold. Looking at the prosperity of the altar of the temple, one can believe it's true. The architecture of the church is a compound of Spanish baroque tradition with folk motifs. It is particularly symbolic as here the wedding ceremonies of the conquistadors and noble Indian girls were held.

At the site of Qurikancha, the richest Incas sanctuary, where the Indians worshiped to the Sun, the Church of Santo Domingo is built. In 1950 an earthquake severely damaged the building. It was found out that under its walls granite walls of the Incas temple much better withstood the tremors are still preserved. Most of the residents supported the idea to leave intact the remains of the sanctuary of the Sun.


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