Inca Empire location
Cuzco was the capital and birthplace of the Inca Empire. The emperor, or Sapa Inca, lived in a palace in Cuzco. His top leaders and closest advisors also lived there.
Where is Cuzco located?
When was Cuzco founded?
Cuzco was founded by Manco Capac around 1200 AD. He established the Kingdom of Cuzco as a city-state that ruled the surrounding lands.
Center of the Inca Empire
In 1438 Pachacuti became the Sapa Inca of the Inca people. He greatly expanded the lands that Cuzco controlled. Soon Cuzco was the center of the vast Inca Empire.
Who lived in the city of Cuzco?
The city of Cuzco was a place for nobles to live during the Inca Empire. Commoners did not live in the city. The only exceptions were the servants of the nobles as well as artisans and builders who were working on buildings or other items for the nobles.
Many of the high ranking nobles were required to live in Cuzco. Even the governors of the four major regions of the empire were required to have a home in Cuzco and to live one fourth of the year in the city.
The most important person that lived in Cuzco was the emperor, or Sapa Inca. He lived in a huge palace with his family and queen, the coya.
The Buildings of Cuzco
- Emperor's Palace - Perhaps the most important building in Cuzco was the emperor's palace. There were actually a number of palaces in Cuzco because each new emperor built his own palace. The palace of the previous emperor was occupied by his mummy. The Inca believed that the spirit of the old emperor inhabited the mummy and they often went to consult the mummies of previous emperors.
- Coricancha - The most important temple in Cuzco was the temple of the Sun god Inti. It was called the Coricancha which means "Golden Temple". During the time of the Inca Empire the walls and floors of the temple were covered in sheets of gold.
- Sacsayhuaman - Located on a steep hill on the outskirts of the city was the fortress of Sacsayhuaman. This fortress was guarded with a series of huge stone walls. There are individual stones in the walls so big they are estimated to weigh nearly 200 tons!
Walls of the Sacsayhuaman ruin at Cusco by Bcasterline
Interesting Facts about the Inca city of Cuzco
- A common greeting used in the city was "Ama Sua, Ama Quella, Ama Lulla" which meant "Don't lie, don't steal, don't be lazy". This was also the cornerstone of the Inca law.
- The Killke people lived in the area before the Inca and may have built some of the structures that the Inca used.
- The city of Cuzco is still a large city today with a population of around 350, 000.
- Many of the stones in the walls of Sacsayhuaman fit so closely together that you cannot even slide a piece of paper between them.
- The city of Cuzco is often spelled with an "s" as in Cusco.
- The Constitution of Peru officially designates the modern city of Cuzco as the Historical Capital of Peru.
- Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro said of Cuzco "it is so beautiful and has such fine buildings that it would be remarkable even in Spain".