From the Cuzco of before to the Cuzco of today is a journey between the known and the lost. Only in vain could we hope that times past would become todays. Nonetheless, in spite of everything there are places that take us into the past without having to find a time machine.
Cuzco is both an ancient and a modern city. It has received various names, such as “Noble and Great” given by the Spaniard Francisco Pizarro. Other names given by different organizations include “The Archeological Capital of South America” or “World Heritage Site”. These witness to the popularity our city has attained in the world. They not only remember the historical importance of our city, they also reference the mystery enclosed in it.
The “Imperial City” brings together a past composed of the mythic, the magic, the splendid, the glorious and even the tragic. It contains today many evidences of that past.
When the Spanish arrived Cuzco held the shape of a mountain lion. It head was the complex of Sacsayhuaman and its tail, the confluence of two rivers, the Saphi and the Huatanay.
At that time the city was the capital of the great empire of Tawantinsuyo, one of the largest empires in pre-Modern history. Like the empire, it too was divided into four suyus, or quarters. In this way visitors from each of the four quarters of the empire would find themselves in a palce that corresponded to their origin in the empire.
As a result, Cuzco brought together different settles (mitmaqkuna), soldiers, and visitors from all of Tawantinsuyo. Cuzco was converted into the most cosmopolitan place in the New World. Today in the twenty-first century it continues as a very cosmopolitan place. It maintains its magic and expands outward to the world.
The mountain lion city today is undergoing a strenuous demographic growth which gives it different cultural nuances. Never the less it has not lost the enchantment which draws hundreds of thousands of visitors a year. They come from all over the world to see Machu Picchu, a wonder of the world, but also the many different archeological parks that are found in the region as well as the different architectural treasures that adorn the city.
Many tourists are enchanted with the experience of Cuzco, its traditions and customs, the different cultural manifestations, its gastronomy, its people and the many mysteries hidden in the city.
Today the majority of Cuzco inhabitants work in tourism in one way or another. There are always new tourist services being generated. Tourists now are guided to the most popular places in the metropolitan area of Cuzco, from parks to chicherias (places serving chicha and often food). There are many different ways to walk through the city to visit the traditional neighborhoods or the different places within the city. There is adventure tourism and cultural tourism in the different indigenous communities that the region holds.
In its enchanting landscape as well as the architectural harmony kept by the perpetual city in its streets, passages, and walls, filled with history. They give it a magical beauty that many times traps those who look for a good place in which to live in the world.
For that reason in the last decades people from all voer the world have come to Cuzco to live for a while in this city. Even though once they arrive many require time to acclimate themselves because of the altitude. The various valleys that compose Cuzco host numerous foreigners who prefer the tranquility that is found in Cuzcos streets.
One only needs to walk through the traditional neighborhoods of San Blas, San Sebastian, Santa Ana, or San Jeronimo to find places preferred by foreigners who have found a home in Cuzco, a magical city that becomes more and more cosmopolitan.