Cusco was the capital of the Inca Empire. Today about 450,000 people live here, many of whom are Quechuan. Because of the high elevation -- about 12,000 feet -- we had to take it easy. There is much less oxygen in the air than we are used to. The hotel even has oxygen tanks in the lobby for people who feel ill from altitude sickness.
We were fortunate to arrive just before the winter solstice. Yes, I said WINTER. Remember Peru is below the equator. Everyone was preparing for a solstice celebration. Children of all ages were practicing dances with traditional costumes and music for a competition. So colorful and exciting to experience! It is wonderful how they preserve their cultural heritage.
We rode horses to a site called the Temple of the Moon. We also visited a site called Saqsaywaman which included the Temple of the Sun. It took 20 thousand men and 70 years to build. One stone weighs more than 100 tons. For comparison, a school bus weighs about three tons.
The first three pictures are of the Temple of the Moon. We are seated on the throne that the priests used to observe the heavens. The next three pictures are of Saqsaywaman. And the the last three are of the adorable children dancing in the festival.