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Cuzco Holidays Overview
Cuzco (or Cusco) is a southeastern Peruvian city in the Andean Mountains. It is above 3,000 metres in altitude and inhabited by roughly 350,000 people. The city has buses departing to distant cities as well as frequent regional buses and taxis. There are also two train stations and an airport. There is a tourist tram that makes a 2 hour loop with frequent stops to allow for sightseers to easily traverse the city.
This city was the historic capital of Peru and the Inca Empire. It is thought that the main expansion of the Incan Empire occurred in the century prior to Spanish arrival at Cuzco in 1538. Long before the Spanish marched into Cuzco, Incan civilization was falling to diseases contracted from contact with European illnesses that had been unknown to aboriginal defense systems. Several attempted revolts over the ensuing centuries failed.
Cuzco itself remained a forgotten and faraway place in Peru until 1911 when Machu Picchu was rediscovered. Since then the site has made Cuzco a major tourist destination is Peru and South America. Today, the main plaza here is surrounded by restaurants, gift and craft shops as well as hotels and clubs, all catering to the tourist industry. Despite earthquakes, Spanish colonial architecture is still standing in much of the downtown.
Historic ruins of the Incas can still be visited. There are half a dozen archaeological sites and several museums. Quechua is still largely spoken among the aboriginal population here. Traditional dress is also maintained, principally among the women. Traditional music and dance are part of continuing traditions.
Busy areas can be rife with pickpockets in Latin American cities. It is best to carry a shoulder bag or knapsack in front of one’s body to prevent a dangling bag on one’s back to be quickly slit open and emptied from the bottom. Some hotels offer Oxygen in-room as guests coming from lower altitudes can face difficulties adjusting to the elevation. HIV/AIDS has been rising in Cuzco in recent years.
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holidays - Top Events
Inti Raymi is the Sun Festival of Inca tradition that has been revived in Cuzco. It is held to coincide with the Solstice in June. Cultural events are held throughout the week. This is the busiest time in Cuzco so advance reservations for visitors are advisable. The activity culminates with a ceremony at the ruins of the Fortress of Sacsayhuaman. (http://www.classzone.com/books/en_espanol_shared/ML1/ML_1_Inti_Raymi/ml_1_inti_raymi.html)
November 1 is the Day of the Dead, known here as Day of the Living Saints (Dia de los Santos Vivos). The local cemetery comes alive with celebration in honor of the deceased. Traditional food, music and moonshine are shared with the dead and among the living. (http://www.perucuzco.com/festividades/fiesta-santos.htm)
On February 17, the smaller towns around here celebrate Carnaval. Throughout the Sacred Valley, where Macchu Piccu was built, there are traditional festivities. (http://www.perucuzco.com/festividades/carnaval-cusco.htm)
For the 24th of December, when the Christian world celebrates Christmas Cuzco has its own tradition of santurantikuy. A people’s fair is held and hundreds of local craftsmen bring their wares, principally focused on “little baby Manuel.” (http://www.perucuzco.com/festividades/santurantikuy.htm)
holidays - How to Get There
This destinaton (CUZ) is serviced by The One World Airline Alliance with which Qantas and American are affiliated. A flight from SYD is estimated at a minimum of 32 hours and 15 minutes with 2 stops. Australians in need of assistance in this city may contact the Consulate-General in Peru's capital city, Lima. (http://www.australia.org.pe/)