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Cuzco Cruises

The former capital of the Inca empire is located at 11,000 ft (3400m) in the Andes of central Peru, nearly 450 miles (760km) by road from Lima on the coast. The city dates from the 11th or 12th century and was the capital of Tawantinsuyu ("Realm of the Four Parts"), an empire of 12 million people that encompassed Ecuador, half of Chile and parts of modern Bolivia and Argentina. Cuzco contains extensive Inca ruins that reflect great skill in engineering, stonework, and architecture including the famous Stone of Twelve Angles. Following the conquest of the city in 1533 by the Spanish and an earthquake in 1650, many notable buildings were built in place of or above exiting Inca structures. Examples of these are the Church of Santo Domingo incorporating the foundations and several walls of the Koricancha or Temple of the Sun, the cathedral on the site of the Inca palace of Viracocha and the church of La Compania, which was built on the foundations of the Temple of the Serpents (Amarucancha). The fortress of Sacsahuaman overlooks the valley from a hill above Cuzco. Other ruins nearby include the Inca bath, or Tambomachay, the Kenco amphitheatre and the fortress of Puca Pucara. The famous Inca ruins at Machu Picchu are 50 miles (80km) away and can be reached by rail from here.