Everyone who likes to travel should have a few places that they must go to in their lifetime. Since I went to Mexico alone in 2013, Peru has become the top country in my travel wish list, and I have always wanted to go Peru looks at the remains of civilization left by the Inca Empire. Finally, before this year’s birthday, I went to Peru with my parents. This is the farthest country I have ever been to. Take a long journey to find the past and present life of the Inca Empire and reach the sky city in my heart.
Day 1: Arrive in Cusco in the morning. Afternoon in the ancient city of Cusco: Plaza de Armas, La Compania de Jesus Church, Cuzco Cathedral, ancient Inca walls and Piedra de los 12 Angulos ), Sacsayhuaman (the largest and most spectacular Inca site except Machu Picchu), and the Church of San Cristobal (Iglesia de San Cristobal) overlooking Cusco city sunset. Live in Cusco.
Day 2: Charter trip to the Sacred Valley of Inca: Chinchero town, Sítio Arqueológico de Moray, Salinas de Maras, Parque Arqueológico de Ollantaytambo Arrive at Ouyantai Railway Station and take a train to Hot Spring Town. Live in hot spring town.
Day 3: Machu Picchu site (search for “Machu Picchu” on Weibo, with detailed travel notes), return to Cusco by train in the afternoon. Live in Cusco.
Day 4: Morning Sun Temple, Machu Picchu Museum, Inca Museum. Afternoon Pisac ruins (Parque Arqueológico de Pisac), Pisac market. Cusco
Day 5: Depart from Cusco to Lima.
Cusco: the heart of the Inca Empire
The first stop of the Peru tour was the ancient city of Cusco in the south. Many people came here because of the seven wonders of the world, Machu Picchu. Indeed, Cusco is a gateway to Machu Picchu to a large extent, but we come to Cusco Ke is more because this ancient city hidden deep in the Andes was once the center of the Inca Empire. For the ancient Inca people who worship the sun god, Cusco is the center of the world and the center of their universe view.
The center of the city of Cusco is Plaza de Armas. During the prosperity of the Inca Empire, religious sacrifices were often held here. Later, the Spanish colonists did not destroy it after the invasion, but it was built here. Church and stone arcade. Now the Plaza de Armas is equivalent to the People’s Square. It is a place where local people usually gather and relax. There are various travel agencies, restaurants, shops and souvenir shops around the square.
Like the Plaza de Armas in other cities, the Cusco Plaza de Armas also has a small fountain. The top of the fountain is a golden Indian full-body sculpture. In addition, the square is hung with two flags all year round. The red and white flag is the Peruvian flag, and the colorful One side represents Tawantin Suyou, the ancient Inca empire, and it would be more appropriate to use this as a starting point for exploring the civilization of the Inca empire.
There are many churches around the square. The most important one is the’Cusco Cathedral’. This church was built during the Spanish colonization in 1550. It was the most typical example of the colonial rulers preaching the Catholic faith to the local people.
’Cuzco Cathedral’ combines Spanish Renaissance architectural style with Indian stone carving art, and it took almost a century to complete. Religion-related artworks are now preserved, as well as works by famous artists such as Rubens, and it is not possible to take pictures inside~~
On the left and right sides of the Cusco Cathedral are the’Church of Jesus Maria’ and the’Church of El Tenov’, and on the east side of the square is the’Jesus Church’. The’Jesus Church’ was built by the Spanish during the colonial palace ruins of Huayna Capac, the last emperor of the Inca Empire during the colonial period. This church was damaged in the earthquake of 1650. Now we see the church renovated in 1668 Yes, the two large clock towers and the baroque façade are striking.
The interior of the church is also beautifully carved in Baroque style. Compared to several other churches in Cusco, this one is more gorgeous. You can’t take photos on the first floor, you can do on the second floor. There are a lot of artworks worth seeing. You can also climb the wooden stairs to the third floor overlooking the Plaza de Armas.
Went to lunch at noon and had a lunch at Plaza Café not far from the Jesuit Church. There are many small restaurants like this around the square. The view we had was good and highly recommended.
Ordered a simple meal of Kesong and Salad, and it was often pleasant to eat lunch while watching the people in the Plaza de Armas. We were very lucky. The first day we came to Cusco was a sunny day. We prayed silently that we could have such good weather when we went to Machu Picchu.
After lunch, continue to walk around the square. The square is surrounded by dense red roof houses. The entire city of Cusco extends around the Plaza de Armas.
Many buildings around the square were built on the basis of the buildings of the previous Inca Empire. The fusion of the two architectural styles of Spain and Inca can reveal many traces of ancient Inca civilization.
The ruins of Machu Picchu brought many tourists to the ancient city of Cusco, and many locals doing tourist business can be seen on the Plaza de Armas. Some people wearing herdsmen’s costumes want tourists to take pictures of the little alpaca. They usually have to pay 1-2 Peruvian money, which is not expensive.
On September 29th, I didn’t know what the festival was. Many people dressed up in the streets singing and dancing, and it was very lively.
A variety of traditional Peruvian costumes can be seen in the parade, which are often pretty.
I don’t know if it’s more foreign festivals or I’m lucky. I often encounter such festival parades when I travel. It’s really interesting to fry chickens. Watching the parade is also a way to feel the local culture.
Leave the crowd and go to the alley to continue to look for traces of Inca civilization. Wandering Cusco, you will inadvertently find the mark of the Inca Empire, and encounter the past and present of the Inca civilization. When you come to Cusco, you must go to punch the Inca ancient wall and the dodecagonal Inca stone. The famous Hatunrumiyoc street is also called the ancient wall street.
We met the locals of the COS Inca Emperor in front of the ancient wall, and remember to give some money after taking the photo, making it difficult to make a living.
The one on the right is the twelve-sided Inca stone. As the name suggests, there are twelve corners. It is the largest incarnate stone in existence. It reflects the superb technology of Inca stone construction from the side. The seemingly irregular stones can be combined together tightly, and they have not fallen through several major earthquakes. Even if they are seen now, they are very powerful.
Continue to visit the’Church of Santo Domingo’, this church is also a monastery hall that was rebuilt and added on the basis of the Sun Temple of Cusco during the colonial period.
The foundation of the church is still the original Inca stone. Although it looks relatively shabby now, during the Inca Empire, this former temple of the sun was the most sacred place for the Inca who believed in the sun god.
There is a courtyard inside the church. At that time, it was called the golden courtyard because of the various gold sculptures. The original Sun Temple was even inlaid with gold foil on the wall, and was later stripped off by the Spanish. The church we see now is in Spanish style, and the courtyard is surrounded by Spanish arcades. Photographs cannot be taken inside the church, but in the courtyard.
The terrace of the church can also be photographed. The one on the right is the closely-stitched Inca stone.
There is also a Kusicancha ruin near the hotel we live in, and it is across the street from the Sun Temple.
It used to be a residential area of the ancient Inca city, but it is now in ruins and there is a small museum next to it.
After visiting the ancient city, go back to the hotel to rest. Several characteristic hotels in Cusco are basically old buildings in the Spanish colonial style. Generally, there are large courtyards on two floors, with beautiful arches on both floors. The layout is similar to that of Beijing’s Siheyuan. The’Novotel Cusco’ we lived in was a 400-year-old Spanish colonial building. The hotel is only 3 blocks from the square and the cathedral, making it easy to travel.
This arcade-style old building is very fast in Spain. The first floor is the lobby and the atrium restaurant. The overall atmosphere is very retro and elegant. There is also a flower fountain in the middle of the courtyard. The style is very good. The original open-air atrium has a glass roof on top, so the sun is very comfortable. It is comfortable to drink a coca tea during the day to enjoy the sun and fried chicken. The photos are also beautiful!
The 400-year old building is filled with history, and many ancient cultural relics are placed on the stairs.
The second floor is mainly guest rooms, overlooking the middle courtyard on the cloister, the courtyard under the sun is beautiful.
Walking on the promenade with arches is a quick way to cross Spain, and the corners are also suitable for taking pictures.
There are also paintings on the walls, all related to the Inca Empire and Spanish colonial history.
We booked a superior room on the second floor, the room is simple and elegant style, very comfortable to live. The standard room looks like a newly built podium next to it, so it is recommended that you book a superior room, and even live in an old building.
After a rest at the hotel, we went to the’Sacsayhuaman Ruins’ to watch the sunset. This is the largest and most spectacular Inca ruins except Machu Picchu.
Overlooking Cusco from the top of the mountain, this ancient city carrying the history of the Inca Empire appears a bit lonely in the sunset. The demise of any civilization is a pity. Fortunately, the Inca civilization still has traces to follow.
The site of Sacsayvaman used to be the place where the sun sacrifice was held, and it was also the palace of the King of Inca. It is said that the main fort was built in the 1970s and lasted for more than 50 years. It was not completely completed until the Spanish colonists invaded… Now the ruins of the ancient city built by boulders can still be seen on the ruins. Each boulder weighs a ton. How the city wall was built on such a large scale is still an unsolved mystery.
Down the mountain, you can take a look at the San Cristobal Church, overlooking the blue night view of the Plaza de Armas. At this time, the Plaza de Armas exudes golden light, which is very beautiful.
Dinner on this day at the local restaurant’Meson de Don Tomas’, eating traditional Peruvian food. This store has a Peruvian style from decoration and atmosphere, and there are traditional performances during the meal.
The restaurant uses elements of Inca stone and the “medical saint”, also known as “TUMI”, which can be seen everywhere in Cusco.
Ordered Inca Cola and black corn juice, which are Peruvian specialties, are traditional Peruvian drinks. Cola is yellow, corn juice is the color of berries, and the taste is quite special.
The Peruvian national dish that must be ordered at his home is called lemon marinated raw fish (Ceviche). There are many opinions about the origin of this dish. Some say that it has been handed down from the tradition of indigenous people handling raw fish 2000 years ago, but historians believe that It was the Spanish colonists who brought this dish into South America. Regardless of the origin, this dish is the national dish of Peru! Peru even has a festival for this dish, which is designated as Ceviche Remembrance Day on June 28 each year hahaha…
The local roasted guinea pig (Roast Guinea Pig, called Cuy in Spanish) is very cute and has a little colorful hat, but it is a bit cruel…
Back to the hotel after dinner, the Novotel Cusco hotel in the evening is blue and dreamy!
In the evening, not only locals playing the harp, but also Peruvian women selling their handicrafts in the courtyard. The hotel concierge and every returning guest greeted each other with warm greetings: “Welcome home” is really a warm hotel If you have the opportunity to come to Cusco next time, you will stay here!
Inca Sacred Valley: The Inca civilization scattered in the valley
The second stop of the Peru tour is the Sacred Valley of Inca. The Inca Sacred Valley is a valley surrounded by snow-covered mountains of more than 100 kilometers of the Urubamba River in the Andes. It is located between Machu Picchu and Cusco. Because the Urubamba River is regarded as a holy river, this river valley Also known as Sacred Valley. This is the main settlement of the Incas in the Andes Valley during the Inca Empire, scattered with palaces and castles left over from the Inca Empire
We departed from the hotel at 7:30 the next morning and chartered a car and watched along the way. The itinerary for this day is:
Sítio Arqueológico de Moray
Salinas de Maras
Ouyantai ruins (Parque Arqueológico de Ollantaytambo)
Finally, we will arrive at Ouyantai Railway Station and take the train to Hot Spring Town, the town where Machu Picchu is located. From Cusco, the scenery changes constantly, and when you reach the small town of Chinchero, you can see scattered villages and farmland like puzzles.
Along the way, you can see the snow-capped mountains surrounded by clouds.
We first arrived at the’Chinchero Ruins’ in the Sacred Valley of Inca, which used to be the site of the Inca King’s Palace. You can see that the white stone Catholic church, bell tower and cross have been built on the original stone wall site of the Inca Palace. These are small towns. Traces of colonization by Spain.
You can also see large terraces and Inca stone walls on the site. Although they no longer look like the original, they can be recognized as Inca buildings at a glance.
The Chinchero ruins are close to the town, so many locals come here to set up stalls to sell things.
The locals sell some ground-fed snacks, big corn with Peruvian characteristics.
There are also various handicrafts, the price is good, cheaper than Cusco, if you want to buy souvenirs, it is recommended to buy here.
Chinchero also has a bazaar, where you can see how the locals are weaving. Chincero is known as the “weaving capital” of Peru, and the ancient dyeing and weaving workshop is well known.
Here you can see local women hand-knitting flower cloth with alpaca wool.
Here weaving is made of alpaca wool, and the dyeing has so far used the most primitive methods. Adding plants, minerals and the like are all natural colors.
Guinea pigs can also be seen in the market. Guinea pigs are one of the main local meat sources. Raising guinea pigs in the local area is similar to raising chickens and ducks.
You can also feed the grass mud mahahaha…Alpacas are also an important local source of materials, and the knitting yarns are all from the alpaca.
Also, by the way, a cat… Peruvian cats look like Chinese rural cats!
Leaving the small town of Chinchero, the next stop is the’More Terrace Ruins’. This is the “Granary” of the Inca Empire. At an altitude of 3600 meters, it is rich in various stem crops and hybrid crops. It is very different from the terraces we know.
The terraced fields you see in summer are green, and in autumn you are bare. The neatly shaped terraces are what they were after repairing. The original ones are like this photo below. In some places, the stone fence has collapsed.
There are also some shallow terraces, which are spectacular from the height.
The next thing I arrived at was the “Maras Salt Field” I personally looked forward to. This salt field is one of the oldest salt fields in the world and a site of the Inca Empire. It is still in use. Panoramic view on the hillside, Yantian is distributed in a canyon, from a distance is a white hillside.
From a close distance, it turns out that these salt fields are composed of evaporation ponds like terraces, and half of the mountains are salt fields.
According to statistics, there are more than 3,000 salt ponds in this salt field. Due to the different position of each salt pond, the mineral content is different, the color of the salt is also different, the beige, light red and reddish brown gradient, the gray is often beautiful.
This piece of color grid is simply a natural eyeshadow disc with wood, real earth color eye shadow disc!
There are some small shops near Yantian, where local people sell salt and some souvenirs and special products.
Finally, we came to the’Ouyantai Ruins’, an important military fortress site in the Inca Empire. When the Spanish colonists invaded, the Inca used to successfully resist the attack of the Spanish army with bows, spears, and stones.
There are still doors and defensive facilities piled up with Inca stones.
There are terraces on the Ouyantai Fortress, a castle and a temple for religious activities are built on the top of the platform, and a granary on the opposite mountainside is a granary. The air circulation on the mountain is better, and it is easy to preserve food. I have to sigh the construction technology of the ancients. It is not harder to build a fortress on the mountain than it is to climb the sky… Ouyantai, Machu Picchu, and our Great Wall are all human miracles!
These most representative boulders are the unfinished temple of the sun. It is amazing how such a large stone did not know how it was transported up the mountain.
We went to the’Pisac Ruins’ on the last day of Cusco, so that our Sacred Inca Valley was perfect. We went to a sacred view of the Sacred Inca Road on the way to Pisac, overlooking the valley Town and rolling fields.
The’Pukapkara ruins’ passing by along the way, a fortress made of huge stones, witness the fierce battle between the Spanish and the Incas.
Finally, we arrived at the’Pisak Ruins’, which was also a stronghold of the Inca Empire at that time. The ruins are divided into three parts: agriculture, residence and religion.
Pisac is characterized by terraces in the canyon, occupying half of the hillside, which is very spectacular.
There are also some small sites on the slopes of terraces, which were also agricultural-related buildings at that time.
Pisac’s largest site is on the top of a hill, a group of fortress buildings built of stones, and there has been a fierce battle here historically.
Standing high above the Pisak ruins overlooking the Sacred Valley of Inca, the scenery and remains along the way are vivid. This trip to Peru is a journey of civilization. The magical Inca Empire and the Inca culture that has fallen in the long river of history have gradually become clear during the journey. This is also a meaning of travel. Although the Peruvian Sky City on the wish list is finally punched out, I have not crossed it out of the list. I have the opportunity to come back again and again to go between the Inca civilizations!