Lima may hold the title as the official capital of Peru, but Cusco is the original seat of power for the Inca empire. Declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1983, it is apparent why it deserves that title.
Cusco, a city in the Peruvian Andes, was once capital of the Inca Empire, and is now known for its archaeological remains and Spanish colonial architecture. Plaza de Armas is the central square in the old city, with arcades, carved wooden balconies and Incan wall ruins. The baroque Santo Domingo Convent was built on top of the Incan Temple of the Sun (Qoricancha), and has archaeological remains of Inca stonework.
Spanish landmarks like the 17th-century cathedral used Inca masonry as foundations, and for construction. Above the city, the hilltop complex of Sacsayhuamán has distinctive zigzag dry-stone walls, plus views over red-tiled roofs and the surrounding mountains. Set at an altitude of 3,400m, Cusco is the gateway to further Inca sites in the Urubamba (Sacred) Valley and on the Inca Trail, a multiday trek that ends at the mountain citadel of Machu Picchu.