Our current time zone: GMT +8 (We're home in Singapore!)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

The Heart Of The Navel Of The World

It is said that the first Inca was issued with a mighty assignment by the Sun God Inti to locate the navel of the world, or in Quechua (the language of the Incas), qosq'o. And when Mr Inca plonked down his foot on what he thought was the centre of the universe, he founded a city, which has been inhabited since the 12th century to this very day.

But of course, with 'world' being a relative concept, Cusco has to compete with other historic spots in Jerusalem, Japan, Greece, Colombia, Mexico, Easter Island for the coveted title of the true navel.

One of the subsequent Inca rulers proved himself to be an accomplished urban planner and developer - he fashioned the layout of the city to correspond with the side profile of a puma. And at the 'heart' of the Puma City lies the Plaza de Armas, which still beats strongly with the combined pulses of visitors from all over the world who come to visit this UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Set high in the Andean range at an elevation of approximately 3,300m above sea level, the city sets out to test the fortitude of travelers who arrive from lower elevations. But hanging out at the aesthetically-built Plaza de Armas may help you forget and get over the initial breathlessness, thumping head and queasy stomach. Exploring the Heart of the Navel of the World on a Sunday morning was a pretty fun experience - the streets were closed to traffic, marching bands were tooting their horns for important-looking military personnel and little kids were looking bright and furry, all dressed up as little mascots for the parade.

Mountain city

The rainbow is the flag of the Incas. No sniggering please...

Springtime in Cusco

Hey, I thought the roads were closed to cars!

The Cathedral which sits on the site of an old Inca palace, was built with stones from an outlying Inca site and took almost 100 years to complete. It houses a painting of The Last Supper, which features a guinea pig as one of the dishes.

You're now allowed to fall asleep after Mass, not during it

Look Ma, no cars!

Dining in the ornately-carved balconies with views of the mountains and watching the world go by below you must be an enchanting experience indeed. It also gives one respite from the pushy touts, who kindly inform you that viewing of their wares is free-of-charge. But of course, balcony dining comes at a premium - no 10-sole set menus here!

Balconies and arches

Very.Very. Pretty

Box seats

To escape from the main drag, slink into the cool dark shadows of one of the side streets leading out from the eastern side of plaza. (Head northwest and you'll find yourself right smack in the middle of the aptly nick-named Gringo Alley! Read: more touts to dodge!)

Pathway lined with Inca walls

Walking alongside the oldest wall in Cusco

A path of yellow sunshine invites you to step right into the courtyard

With Qosq'o being such a pretty vibrant city, Dan and I were quite happy to live our lives as navel lint for awhile.


Tracy Su said...

Those balconies really are something else! I'd pay a premium to dine on one...

forex course said...

These snaps are really very nice. really loves these. thanks for sharing it.

Yeepster said...

The clouds look so surreal!

Dannie said...

Tracy: The touts would probably give you a discount to dine in one!

Forex course: Thanks for the compliments. We love sharing the wonderful things we've seen and experienced on our travels.

Yeepster: The clouds look surreal, but they are so real!

Forever Living

Forever Living
Read about the products, then contact our wellness sponsor!
Related Posts with Thumbnails