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(both: ko͞o`skō), city (1993 pop. 97,466), alt. 11,207 ft (3,416 m), capital of Cuzco dept., S Peru, at the confluence of the Huatanay and Tullamayo rivers. Its population is predominantly of indigenous descent. It is a transportation hub and a trading center for agricultural produce and for woolen textiles produced in the Cuzco mills. It also has a large tourist industry, based on its proximity to many ancient Inca sites. According to legend, Cuzco was founded by Manco CapacManco Capac
, legendary founder of the Inca dynasty of Peru. According to the most frequently told story, four brothers, Manco Capac, Ayar Anca, Ayar Cachi, and Ayar Uchu, and their four sisters, Mama Ocllo, Mama Huaco, Mama Cura (or Ipacura), and Mama Raua, lived at
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, first of the Inca rulers. The city had massive palaces and temples (most notably the Temple of the Sun, now the site of a Dominican convent), which were lavishly decorated with gold medallions and ornaments. When Francisco PizarroPizarro, Francisco
, c.1476–1541, Spanish conquistador, conqueror of Peru. Born in Trujillo, he was an illegitimate son of a Spanish gentleman and as a child was an illiterate swineherd.
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 entered the city in 1533, it was plundered; and on its ruins the conquerors and their descendants built the colonial city, using the ancient walls (many of which are still visible) as foundations for new buildings. An earthquake in 1650 destroyed much of the city, and many of the city's notable Baroque buildings were built in subsequent years. The cathedral and the churches of the Society of Jesus and of La Merced are the most notable of Cuzco's many churches. A severe earthquake in 1950 destroyed much of the city, but most of the historic buildings have been restored. The National Univ. of Cuzco is in the city, as are many art, history, and other museums; nearby are the ruins of the Inca fortress SacsahuamánSacsahuamán
, stronghold of the Incas outside Cuzco, Peru. Built in the 15th cent., Sacsahuamán is an imposing terraced fortress more than one third of a mile long; it is a masterpiece of stone construction. Cyclopean blocks (one is 38 ft/11.6 m long; 18 ft/5.
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. Vinicunca, or Rainbow Mtn., is to the southeast.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



(also Cusco), a city in Peru and capital of the department of Cuzco. Situated in the mountains at an elevation of more than 3,400 m, in the valley of the Huatanay River (Amazon Basin). Population, 108,900 (1970). The Quechua Indians constitute a significant proportion of the population. Railroad station. The principal industries are the production of cotton and wool fabrics and leather goods and of sugar, beer, chocolate, and other food products; handicrafts are also produced. The city has a university (founded in 1692) and two museums. It is a tourist center.

According to legend, Cuzco was founded by the first mythical ruler of the Incas, Manco Capac, in the 11th century (much earlier according to archaeological data). The city subsequently became the capital of a vast Inca state: Tawantin-suyu. In 1533, Spanish conquistadors headed by F. Pizarro seized the Inca state and looted Cuzco, destroying its rich culture.

After a series of fires and earthquakes (the largest in 1650), Cuzco was rebuilt in the 17th and 18th centuries. From 1836 to 1838 it was the capital of the South Peruvian state. Workers’ uprisings and major strikes flared up frequently in Cuzco. In 1959 a general strike against the policies of the oligarchy grew into a popular revolt, which was savagely crushed by the reactionaries.

Cuzco has retained traces of the rectangular plan and the directions of streets of Inca times. The remains of Inca stone structures (the Colcampata palace and the main part of the Temple of the Sun—Coricancha) were used by the Spaniards as foundations for new buildings. In the 16th through 18th centuries, buildings in the baroque style were erected: massive, richly decorated stone churches (such as the cathedral, 1560–1654, designed by F. Becerra) and monasteries and convents (La Compañia, Santo Domingo, and the Convent of La Merced) and one-or two-story dwellings with courtyard arcades. Beginning in 1945, hotels, motion-picture theaters, and a scientific center were built. The Museum of the Institute of Archaeology contains a collection of pre-Columbian and colonial art. The Inca fortified settlements of Sacsahuamán, Machu Picchu, Pisac, and others are located near Cuzco.


Kropp, M. Cuzco, Window on Peru. New York-London, 1956.
Pardo, L. Historia y arqueología del Cuzco, vols. 1–2. [Callao, 1956.]
The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.


, Cusco
a city in S central Peru: former capital of the Inca Empire, with extensive Inca remains; university (1692). Pop.: 307 000 (2005 est.)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
At the Cuzco orphanage site, samples were taken from the community drinking tap and from the communal kitchen.
Often 50,000 gathered for solstice festivities as peasants were allowed to enter Cuzco's confines only to celebrate religious festivals.
The pair, who face up to 25 years in jail if convicted, told how they had been held in a house on or close to a tiny cobbled street off Cuzco's main square.
Verifico con ella que en todas las sucesiones narradas por el cronista existieron siempre dos candidatos, uno de Hanan y otro de Rurin (1), asociandose el primero con las conquistas fuera del Cuzco, y el segundo con la administracion de la ciudad sagrada.
Yampu Tours has added a Peru package that includes Lima, Cuzco and Machu Picchu with Iguazu Falls.
Machu Picchu and Posada Amazonas is a 10-day trip that combines a leisurely paced exploration of Lima, Cuzco, Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley with a two-night stay at the Posada Amazonas Lodge.
VISIT The new Casa Concha museum in Cuzco has artefacts from Machu Picchu, taken by archaeologist Hiram Bingham a century ago.