Cusco’s history begins long before the arrival of the Spanish, and you can learn about its early development in the superb galleries at the Museo de Arte Precolombino. The museum building began life as an Inca ceremonial courthouse, but it was converted into a mansion by the conquistador Alonso Díaz Moreno. The Palace of Inca Roca experienced a similar transformation, later becoming the Archbishop’s residence. The twelve-angled stone in the walls was part of the original Inca stonework and is now the emblem of the city. Walking through the Old Town you’ll see plenty of such Inca-Spanish fusion.
The most impressive buildings in Cusco tend to be around Plaza de Armas, the Square of the Warrior. It was here that Túpac Amaru II, leader of the indigenous resistance, made his final stand. You can’t miss Cusco Cathedral, built in the Gothic Renaissance style, nor the neighbouring Church of the Society of Jesus, a fine example of Andean baroque.
Several of Cuscos finest hotels are living examples of its heritage. The Monasterio del Cusco was originally a monastery and perfectly sets the tone for your time here.