Discover the Ancient World with Cusco Tours Online - Affordable and Memorable Experiences!

Cusco History

Learn More about the history of Cusco. Once the capital of the Incas.

The City of Cusco is located in the river of Huatanay Valley in the southern highlands of Peru. Its name in Quechua, Qosqo, means » Female navel» or figuratively, «center» or «meeting place», because the city of Cusco was the Capital of the Inca Empire or the Tahuantisuyo; from here, we have begun a vast network of roads (Inca Trails) throughout the Empire which includes the actual countries of Ecuador, Peru, Argentina, Bolivia and Chile; all of that was divided in four regions that made up the 4 parts of the universe in the Andean world.

According to myth; Cusco was founded by Manco Capac and Mama Occllo (brother and sister), sons of the sun god who came from Lake Titicaca with a mission to find a place and founded the center of a great kingdom.
History of Cusco began 5,000 years B.C. with the shepherds of Canas in Chawaytiri and to the Men of Qorqa, engaged in farming. There are different opinions with regard to the first inhabitants of the Valley of Cusco. Some people state that the Marcavalle town or the Sawasiras, Antasayas and Wallas tribes initially inhabited the valley. Others base their theories on the Inca mythology, according to which Manqo Qhapaq and Pachakuteq founded the city. None of these theories has been proved, but there is a great amount of pre-ceramic samples that support the antiquity title assigned to the city.

Throughout the Formative period, the valley of Cusco started to be occupied as of the Watanay Valley or Acamama Valley. During the sedentary period, 1000 years B.C., Marcavalle was the selected place for the establishment. This city was located at the eastern side of the city, and it had a population made up by farmers and shepherds who were precariously organized.

The beginning of the Inca civilization took place on 1200 A.C. and its expansive phase occurred during 1400 A.C.
The subsequent part of the history is known. On November 15th 1533, the Spaniards arrived together with the Empire fall and a rough cultural irruption that moved the capital to Lima.

Cusco History
Cusco History

Cusco or Qosqo, is a city in southeastern Peru near Urubamba Valley and the Vilcanota mountain range. It is the capital of the Region of Cusco as well as the Province of Cusco. In 2007, the city had a population of 358,935 which was triple the figure of 20 years ago. It is located at 3,400 meters above sea level. Cusco was declared a World Heritage site in 1983 by UNESCO; it is a major tourist destination.

Cusco or Qosco means female navel and the origins get lost in the night of times. Archaeological excavations made us know that primitive residents inhabited the Valley of Cusco they were: Alqhawisas, Antasayas, Sawasiras, Qotacalles, Killkes and Lucres. By the XII century, Manco Cápac and his sister – wife Mama Ocllo emerged from the waters of the Lake Titicaca, semi Gods 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 carrying a rod of gold 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 rested in a small cave; to the dawn, they continued to the north arriving to the Hill of Huanacaure and there the scepter submerged, and there he founded the city of Cusco. Manco Cápac and Mama Ocllo left in people’s search, and formed the Hanan Cusco. They taught them how to work the earth and how to sow; they made and used agricultural tools, artificial irrigation systems, to build and to live in towns.

Inhabitants of other districts arrived when got informed of the events, creating this way: the Tahuantinsuyo, the great empire of the Incas, which limits, after 14 successors of real lineage, reached Colombia by the north, and northern Chile and Argentina by the south; as capital Cusco reached its maximum splendor.