Cusco architecture and landmarks, photography courtesy of Megan Gaston

Cusco’s Plaza de Armas is a picturesque centre of calm in an otherwise hustle bustle city. Stop, take a break, sit on one of the many benches and simply watch the passersby. Take in the surrounds beyond the city walls where tiny houses creep up the hillsides overlooked by Cusco´s ever watchful guardian, Cristo Blanco.

Megan Gaston: Cusco Plaza de Armas
Megan Gaston: Cusco Plaza de Armas

Just two plaza´s across (oh yes, Cusco has many plaza’s) is the Plaza San Francisco. Great for food fayre’s, art exhibitions, and sometimes street comedy and drama plays, catch some theatre or just wander through the artesan markets. Also, this is the starting point towards the San Pedro Market, a hop, skip and a jump though the archway.

Megan Gaston: Plaza San Francisco
Megan Gaston: Plaza San Francisco

Cusco is fun just to walk around and admire the architecture, a wonderful mix of modern, old Spanish and Incan stone masonry. Cusco was given its rightful place on the UNESCO world heritage list in 1983, due to its, “..unique testimony of the ancient Inca civilization, heart of Tawantinsuyu imperial government”, and “exceptional example of the confluence of two distinct cultures; Inca and Hispanic”.  For more detailed information please see: http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/273.

Thanks to Megan Gaston, a lovely example of Cusco's architectural diversity
Thanks to Megan Gaston, a lovely example of Cusco’s architectural diversity

The steep, cobbled stone streets that connect you to the city’s bohemian, artesan district of San Blas are no mean feat to navigate but are worth the dare! Leading you to more plazoletas and fabulous hidden gems of cafes, but with names like Choquechaca, Tecsecopcha, Waynapata, and Hatunrumiyco, it isn’t just your feet that have to navigate it’s your tongue too!

Leading up to Plazoleta Nazarenas thank you Megan Gaston
Leading up to Plazoleta Nazarenas thank you Megan Gaston

The Plaza de Armas at night has an exciting vibe, lit up and ready for fine dining, romance, dancing, Pisco tasting, or just a relaxed stroll through the centre; central, accessible, a great meeting place, busy and open. Whenever you visit, whatever time of day or night, it truly is the beating heart of the Capital.

Plaza de Armas, ready for the evening throng. Thanks to Megan Gaston
Plaza de Armas, ready for the evening throng. Thanks to Megan Gaston

So when you are in Cusco, be sure to head for the heart, venture outwards along the life blood of its walkways and soak up the history and culture of this architecturally magnificent city.

Ascend the alluring and fascinating city of Cusco and its surrounds. Thank you Megan Gaston
Ascend the alluring and fascinating city of Cusco and its surrounds. Thank you Megan Gaston

Happy Trekking!

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