Cusco, also sometimes spelled Cuzco or in the Inca language Quechua sometimes as Qosqo was the capital of the Inca Empire and is located at 3600 meters altitude. It is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the Western Hemisphere. Despite the colonization and conquest by the Spaniards, who destroyed many buildings to create their own colonial buildings with the stones and despite the unbridled fanaticism of the many evangelists who followed to spread the Faith and destroyed the temples of the Incas to build their churches, much of the ancient architecture is still visible. In many cases, the numerous walls of the Incas were used as a foundation. In Cusco and the nearby areas one can still find numerous buildings and walls that have been built without mortar with stones that were cut and polished with enormous perfection and precision that they fit together perfectly. Stones sometimes as large as houses that fit together perfectly like a jigsaw puzzle and where today and with current techniques, and with current techniques, it is almost impossible to match this work with such precise and on this enormous scale. The most characteristic wall in Cusco is the one with the stone with the twelve corners, which is so precisely worked that one literally cannot get a pin between the seams.
The name Cusco is derived from a Quechua word and means "navel" or "center," (of the World) and dates back to the 11th or 12th century and was the capital of Tawantinsuyu ("the Kingdom of the Four Parts or Wind Directions"), an empire that would reach later in the 15th century as far as Ecuador in the North and Argentina in the South. The population of the Inca Empire at the time of the Spanish conquest, in 1530, consisted of more than 12 million subjects, with tens of thousands of inhabitants living in the city of Cusco itself.
In 1983, the historic center of Cuzco was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List.