Cusco is located in the middle of the Andes at 3,400 masl in the southern part of Peru; it is considered the sacred city because it was the Capital of the Inca Empire, it was the government center of the four big administrative regions named Tahuantinsuyo. This fabulous empire extended to a great part of what today are Ecuador, Colombia, Peru, Bolivia, Argentina, and Chile. The Inca Empire was a very well structured society. It stands out for having a great knowledge in architecture, hydraulic engineering, medicine and agriculture; the evidence we still can see in the streets of Cusco, the Temple of Sacsayhuaman and Machu Picchu.
To go over the historical center of Cusco, walking by the city that was traced and designed by the Incas, it is like going for a walk by colonial buildings built on the base of the old real palaces of the Incas, it is the coalition of two architectural styles that make it unique in the world, it is the opportunity to appreciate architectural and art jewels that contain their centennial or millennial walls. There are several alternative circuits that can be made walking when visiting all these marvelous places that are signaled in the streets.
The history said that toward the XII century, Manco Cápac and his sister-wife Mama Ocllo emerged from the waters of the Titicaca Lake, demi God’s daughter and Son of Inti (the God Sun), with the mission of the foundation of a new Kingdom that would improve the conditions of life of the towns. Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo would have to walk until finding a place in the earth where the great gold scepter that Manco Cápac had would submerge, they walked to the north and they arrived to Pacárec Tampu (Pacaritambo) where they rested in a small cave; to the dawn, they continued to the north arriving to the Hill Huanacaure and there the scepter submerged, and there he founded the city of Cusco (Quechua Language: the navel of the world).
Population of Cusco city:
The population in the city of Cusco at the beginning of the XXI century is projected to be 300,000 inhabitants. The annual growth rate is approximately 4%. In 1821 after 3 centuries of Spanish colonial administration, there were about 40,000 people in this city. In the time of the Tawantinsuyo’s apogee, it should had between 250 to 300 thousands of inhabitants.
Altitude of Cusco City:
The altitude of Cusco is 3,400 meters above sea level (11,150 feet). Some people did not use to get to high altitude getting problems as a consequence of the oxygen scarcity. Is necessary to be one day at least in city before to make trekking. The latitude is 13° 30′ 45″ it indicates that we should have a tropical or equatorial weather, but it is not like that. Sometimes Cusco is cooler because of its high altitude. The longitude is 71° 58′ 33″. We are 5 hours later than the Greenwich Mean Time.
Temperature of Cusco City:
Cusco is relatively cool. The annual average in the city is between 10.3° to 11.3° Celsius (50.54° to 52.34° Fahrenheit). Over here, there is some uniformity in temperature between summer and winter. Normally, it is somewhat cold at nighttime and during the first hours in the early morning while that at midday temperature increases considerably. During the early mornings in June and July temperature frequently drops to 5° and 7°C below zero (23° and 19.4°F). There are just 2 well-defined seasons: a dry season and another rainy one. The dry season is from May to October and the rainy season from November to April.
Expected Weather in Cusco and on the Inca trail.
In Cusco and the Inca Trail , dry season starts in April to October, the days are usually sunny and hot but temperatures drop abruptly after 05:00-06:00 p.m until 07:00 a.m. Weather is very changeable from November to March and heavy rains are expected being the wettest month December to March although is not as cold as it is in the dry season.