Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Cusco, Peru

Cusco is a medium sized city at 11,000 feet elevation. It is very old. It was the Inca capital before the Spanish came. There are still some Inca walls left, but they have Spanish buildings on them. There is one place where there is an Inca wall. There used to be a church built on it, but there was an earthquake and the church fell down. The Inca wall only got a small crack in it. There are some Inca ruins in the middle of Cusco called Koricancha. It is the temple of the sun. There is a sun calender. The Incas knew that the sun moved from side to side every 6 months. They used this to make a sun calender. They even knew about leap years. On a leap year they would sacrifice llamas so the sun would return to normal. Koricancha was covered in gold by the Incas before the Spanish came and stole it. Everything was covered in about an inch of gold. There was an estimated 20 tonnes of gold. The streets are all cobblestone and rocks. The city of Cusco, since it was the Inca capital, was shaped likea puma because pumas were sacred animals. The head of the puma is Sacsaywaman. There is a 300 tonne rock at Sacsaywaman. The walls zigzag because they were the puma's teeth. If the Incas were being attacked, the soldiers went to Sacsaywaman because it gave a view of the city. When the Spanish came they took all of the stones they could carry down the hill, so there is only about 20% left but it is still huge.

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