Sitting at the top of a double decker tour bus can give you a unique view of a city. While visiting Cusco we hopped onto a double decker bus serendipitously, and before we even left my eyes were on the people of the city. I was intrigued how they moved throughout this ancient Incan city, and wondered what they were up to.
I began to take photos of them, along with the city’s stunning Spanish Colonial architecture- the people of Cusco were part of its landscape.
Taking photos of people in Peru was something that I had already been doing for almost two weeks. I have always been fascinated with location photos, and the people who thrived in those places. It has been a natural thing for me to take these types of photos during my travels, although I also like taking photos of locations without a plethora of people.
It is whatever is happening at that moment. Which is what I find the most important and interesting aspect of travel- capturing the moment.
The further we rode from the tourist area of Plaza de Armas, the typical Cusco life could be found in its old Spanish streets. As the bus started to climb the hills to the sacred Saqsaywaman site, views of the humble houses that the people of Cusco lived in came into view. The more we climbed up the hills, the better the views were of the various rooftops, and different shaped buildings within this sacred valley.
From the top of the hills and overlooking the city, I could feel the layers of Cusco with its rich cultural past, and its mysterious energy. From the 13th century to the 16th century, this city was the capital of the Inca Empire until the Spanish conquest. Cusco’s Inca roots are just one layer to this city’s architecture, and city planning as it is believed Cusco was built in the shape of the sacred puma.
The massive ancient stone walls, and how the stones were quarried and transported are still undetermined. The deep Incan culture of the city is mysterious and sacred, it is just another intriguing layer to Cusco’s energy.
The Spanish arrived to Cusco in May 1533 to collect for Atahualpa’s Ransom Room after the Battle of Cajamara. Months later, Francisco Pizzaro officially arrived in the city, and the Spaniards were astonished with what they saw. There were long and well planned out streets, beautiful edivices, gold everywhere, and the Plaza de Armas was surrounded by several palaces.
The Spanish were enamored with what they saw, besieged the city, and it took the troops little time to plunder Cusco of its treasures. They also defaced their religious Incan edifices, including the royal mummies in the Coricancha,
After almost 300 years of Spanish Rule, and struggles with liberating itself, Cusco had become part of independent Peru in 1821.
Today, Cusco is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was inscribed in 1983. It is the seventh most populated city in Peru with 425,000 citizens, and is one of the most visited cities in the country. Since it is close and convenient to Machu Picchu, many visitors use this city as a jumping off point for the day trip there, just as we did.
The city of Cusco is beyond words with its stunning Spanish Colonial architecture, stone streets, colorful buildings, and sacred Incan energy. I found the best ways to explore the city was to hop on a double decker bus, and sit at the top; as well as exploring the city on my own by foot. You get two great perspectives of Cusco, and it allows you to immerse yourself with this ancient Incan city- Enjoy!
Cusco – The City and its People
Traveling- It leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller…
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📸 All photos are taken by me and are my intellectual property – Trixie Navarre
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