Streets of Cusco: A Complete Guide

19 de March de 2024

We will uncover the mysterious and enchanting streets of Cusco, where each street tells a unique and captivating story. Immerse yourself in its maze of culture, architecture, and tradition as you explore its narrow paths and beautiful colonial mansions. Let yourself be swept away by the historical charm of Cusco's streets and discover the magic that makes them so special!

A Brief History of Cusco's Streets

Cusco, once the capital of the Inca Empire, captivates those who visit it with its streets, true treasures that hold a piece of history and mystery in every passage. From the Inca era to the arrival of the Spaniards in the 16th century, these streets have witnessed momentous events that have left an indelible mark on the collective memory of this ancient city.

During the Inca era, Cusco's streets were meticulously designed to reflect the society's worldview, with stone constructions that still amaze today for their precision and beauty. Each street was more than a simple path; it was a reflection of the order and harmony that prevailed in the empire and a symbol of the power and greatness of this civilization.

After the arrival of the Spaniards, many of these streets were remodeled and adapted to reflect the colonial style, with narrow cobblestone paths and beautiful mansions that tell the story of the conquest and indigenous resistance. Today, Cusco's streets are a unique fusion of past and present, where the remnants of ancient civilizations intertwine with the modern life of a vibrant and energetic city.

On every corner, in every alley, secrets and legends are hidden, inviting visitors to immerse themselves in the history of this ancient city; every step is a journey through time, an opportunity to discover the mysteries held by the streets of Cusco and to marvel at the greatness of a civilization that managed to build an empire in the heights of the Andes.

Most Important Streets of Cusco

Today we will explore the emblematic streets of Cusco and provide a brief description of each, such as Hatun Rumiyoc Street, home to the "Twelve-Angled Stone," and delve into the vibrant Cuesta San Blas, the city's artistic epicenter.

We will then be captivated by the tradition and mystery of Siete Borreguitos Street, admire the colonial and religious architecture of Loreto Street. And don't miss the bustling Avenida El Sol, the economic and tourist heart of the imperial city. Each street tells a unique story that invites you to discover the essence of Cusco.

Hatun Rumiyoc Street: History and Significance

Hatun Rumiyoc Street, located in the heart of Cusco, is a street that arouses wonder and admiration for its history and significance. On this street is the famous "Twelve-Angled Stone," a stone structure carved with surprising precision that has withstood the passage of time and remains a testament to the ingenuity and skill of the ancient Incas.

This stone, formed by twelve perfectly interlocked angles, is a symbol of the architectural mastery of this civilization and has captured the imagination of historians and travelers from around the world. In addition to its architectural value, Hatun Rumiyoc Street is a place loaded with cultural and spiritual significance for the inhabitants of Cusco.

Cuesta San Blas: Art and Culture

Cuesta San Blas is much more than a simple street in Cusco: it is a true epicenter of art and culture. Known as the artists' neighborhood, this slope is a center of creativity and talent, where talented local artisans display their works in workshops and galleries.

Here, among cobblestone streets and flowered balconies, a bohemian and lively atmosphere prevails, where music, painting, and sculpture are part of the everyday landscape. Cuesta San Blas is a meeting place for artists and art lovers from around the world, who find in its narrow and steep streets an inexhaustible source of inspiration and creativity.

Siete Borreguitos Street: Tradition and Legend

Siete Borreguitos Street is more than a simple street in Cusco: it is a place where tradition and legend intertwine to create a magical and mysterious atmosphere. In addition to its historical and cultural value, Siete Borreguitos Street is a meeting and recreation place for the inhabitants of Cusco, who consider it an invaluable treasure that deserves to be preserved and protected for future generations.

Today, it has become one of the most touristic streets, because its flowered balconies give it an aspect of peace and tranquility amid a bustling city, therefore, it goes without saying that you have to visit this street and take some good photographs.

Loreto Street: Architecture and Religion

Loreto Street is an architectural and religious treasure, known for its impressive colonial houses and its religious importance. This street is a true journey back in time to the era of Spanish colonization in Peru.

It is home to the Company of Jesus, a magnificent architectural complex that combines colonial and baroque elements and remains an important religious and cultural center of the city. In addition to its historical and architectural value, Loreto Street was a relevant place during the Inca era, as it was part of the palace of Huayna Capac, also known as Amaru Cancha.

Avenida El Sol: Economic and Tourist Center

Avenida El Sol is the economic and tourist epicenter of Cusco, a vital artery that connects the past with the present and bears witness to the cultural richness and diversity of this millenary city. Along this avenue, which runs through the historic center of the city, there are numerous shops, restaurants, and hotels that offer a wide variety of products and services.

That's not all, a few meters further down, we find the largest mural in Latin America, which explains the city's process, a good reference to understand what Cusco was like.

The 5 Most Relevant Plazas of Cusco

Discover the most outstanding plazas of Cusco, urban jewels that reflect the rich history and culture of the imperial city:

Plaza de Armas of Cusco: Historical Heart

The Plaza de Armas of Cusco, also known as "Huacaypata" in Inca times, is the historical and cultural heart of the city. Surrounded by majestic colonial buildings, such as the imposing Cusco Cathedral and the Church of the Company of Jesus, this plaza is a symbol of the architectural grandeur and cultural richness that characterize the ancient capital of the Inca Empire.

Since ancient times, the Plaza de Armas has witnessed significant events in the history of Cusco, being a place of meeting, celebration, and protest for its inhabitants and visitors. Today, it continues to be the main point of the city, where tourists and locals gather to enjoy its architectural beauty and vibrant atmosphere. Visiting the Plaza de Armas is to immerse yourself in the very essence of Cusco and feel the force of its history pulsating in every stone and every corner of this emblematic place.

Plaza Regocijo: Meeting of Cultures

Plaza Regocijo, an oasis of serenity and charm in the heart of Cusco, is much more than just an urban space. Known as a "Meeting of Cultures," this plaza is a living testimony to the rich history and cultural diversity that characterizes the imperial city.

Surrounded by elegant colonial buildings and adorned with careful gardens and benches, and home to the Provincial Municipality of Cusco, Plaza Regocijo has been the scene of important historical and cultural events over the centuries.

From festive celebrations to artistic manifestations and religious ceremonies, this emblematic space has witnessed the confluence between the Inca past and Spanish influence, as well as the harmonious coexistence of various traditions and customs. Today, Plaza Regocijo continues to be a meeting and recreation place for locals and tourists alike.

Plaza Santo Domingo: Fusion of Styles

Plaza Santo Domingo is a true "Fusion of Styles," where the vestiges of grandiose Inca architecture intertwine with the majesty of the Spanish colonial style, creating a unique and captivating urban landscape.

Located in front of the imposing Temple of Qorikancha, this plaza is a living testimony of the fusion between two cultures, where Inca ruins and baroque churches coexist in harmony. Plaza Santo Domingo is a haven of peace and beauty in the middle of the city.

Plaza de San Blas: Artists' Neighborhood

Plaza de San Blas, located in the charming neighborhood of the same name, is a vibrant epicenter of art and creativity in Cusco. Known as the "Artists' Neighborhood," this plaza is a refuge for painters, sculptors, artisans, and musicians who find inspiration in its bohemian and picturesque atmosphere.

Surrounded by art workshops and galleries, Plaza de San Blas is a meeting place where artists share ideas, exhibit their works, and celebrate the city's cultural richness. Visiting Plaza de San Blas is to dive into the fascinating world of Cusco's art and discover the passion and talent that inhabit every corner of this magical place.

Plaza de San Cristóbal: Panoramic Viewpoint

Plaza de San Cristóbal, a hidden treasure in Cusco, offers a unique experience as a "Panoramic Viewpoint." From this elevated point, visitors can enjoy breathtaking views of the imperial city and the majestic peaks of the Andes that surround it.

In addition to its natural beauty, the plaza is a meeting place where locals and tourists gather to watch the sunset, capture memorable photographs, and immerse themselves in the very essence of Cusco. Discover the magic of Plaza de San Cristóbal and be amazed by its unparalleled panoramic view.

Emblematic Streets of Cusco and History Explore the emblematic streets of Cusco, each with a fascinating story to tell. Each street is a living testimony of the city's ancestral past, attracting visitors with its unique charm and cultural legacy. Discover the emblematic streets of Cusco and immerse yourself in the history that awaits at every corner.

Cuesta de la Amargura: Path to Sacrifice

Cuesta de la Amargura stands out as the "Path to Sacrifice," because a group of Indians had to contain the stones that fell from above, and as a result, they suffered injuries and even fatal deaths, hence the name Cuesta de la Amargura.

During the Inca era, this steep slope was used to carry out religious ceremonies and sacrifices in honor of the gods. Today, its cobblestone steps are silent witnesses of this ancestral past, inviting visitors to reflect on the spirituality and tradition of the ancient inhabitants of Cusco. Explore Cuesta de la Amargura and connect with the deep history that lies in every step of this sacred path.

Calle 7 Diablitos: Mysteries and Traditions

Immerse yourself in the mysteries and traditions of Calle 7 Diablitos. This street, known for its intriguing name, is not related to supernatural phenomena but traces back to times of youth and love.

According to local legends, it was the scene of romantic encounters between young couples, which, due to frequent pregnancies, earned it a reputation as a "cursed street." However, far from such beliefs, Calle Siete Diablitos offers a charming and serene environment, typical of the ancient Inca streets, with narrowness and silence that invite you to stroll and contemplate.

In its surroundings, visitors can enjoy Plaza de San Blas, known for its tranquil atmosphere and beautiful handicrafts, as well as various restaurants that offer delicious Cusco cuisine.

Although it is not a very busy street, it still hosts some lovers who keep alive the tradition of romantic encounters. Immerse yourself in the magic of Calle Siete Diablitos and discover the beauty and history that make it so special in the fascinating city of Cusco.

Calle Siete Culebras: Symbolism and Nature

In the heart of Cusco, among majestic colonial buildings, lies the iconic Calle Siete Culebras, whose name dates back to its Inca history. Surrounded by the Monastery of Las Nazarenas and the Church of San Antonio Abad, this cobblestone street, only 2 meters wide and 102 meters long, is an architectural jewel that merges the ancient Inca civilization with colonial and modern influence.

During the Inca era, the street was known as 'Amaru ccata,' which means 'fourteen snakes,' in reference to the carvings of seven snakes on each side of the wall that characterizes it. This symbolic detail still endures, although the street has witnessed the city's evolution over the centuries.

The fusion of architectural styles along Calle Siete Culebras is evident with every step. Tourists can appreciate the mastery of Inca builders and the subsequent influence of Spanish colonization, all while enjoying the natural beauty that surrounds the city.

Calle Resbalosa: Challenge and Adventure

The Spaniards, upon settling in Cusco, decided to call this street "Resbalosa" due to its steep slope and the slippery stones that covered it, especially when it rained. In addition, the street gained a reputation as a place of challenge for locals and visitors due to its steep and slippery inclination.

During the Inca era, this street was known as "calle Sikitakana," meaning (you bump your bottom), and in the colonial era, Calle Resbalosa became an emblematic place for challenges and competitions among young Cusqueños, who sought to prove their bravery and skill by attempting to climb the steep street without slipping. These competitions, known as "slippery races," became a deeply rooted tradition in the local culture.

Over time, Calle Resbalosa became a symbol of Cusqueño identity and a meeting place for locals and tourists alike. Today, although the slippery stones have been replaced by safer cobblestones, the street still retains its historic charm and remains a popular place to explore and enjoy the colonial architecture and cultural traditions of Cusco.

Calle del Almirante: Naval Tribute

Calle del Almirante is a historic street located in the center of Cusco, its name is linked to the life of Admiral Francisco Alderete Maldonado, who occupied the house until his death.

However, its history dates back to the Inca era, as it initially housed the palace of Emperor Huáscar and later became the residence of prominent colonial figures such as Viceroy José de la Serna and Admiral Francisco Alderete Maldonado, the latter being honored by its name.

This street connects the Plaza de Armas of Cusco with the Plazoleta de las Nazarenas. It is narrow and long, reflecting the layout of Inca streets. Today, the Casa del Almirante is owned by the National University of Cusco and houses the Inca Museum, thus preserving its historical importance.

Modern Avenues and Streets of Cusco

The modern avenues and streets of Cusco represent a fusion between the city's rich history and contemporary conveniences. With urban planning that respects cultural heritage, these roads offer a unique experience.

Along these streets, there are craft stores, gourmet restaurants, and boutique hotels that contrast with the ancient Inca and colonial constructions. Additionally, the road infrastructure has been improved to facilitate vehicular and pedestrian traffic, without losing sight of the natural beauty of the surroundings. The modern avenues and streets of Cusco reflect the balance between tradition and progress.

Avenida El Sol

Avenida El Sol is one of the main arteries of Cusco, connecting the historic center with the modern area of the city. Its name comes from the importance of the sun to the Inca civilization. This avenue is a vibrant example of the fusion between the ancient and the contemporary, with colonial buildings and modern shops.

Along its sidewalks, there are numerous businesses, restaurants, hotels, and tourist attractions, including the Temple of the Sun or Coricancha, the Plaza de Armas of Cusco is a vibrant street with a mix of colonial and modern architecture. Additionally, its urban design allows easy circulation for both pedestrians and vehicles, making it a vital road for daily life and tourism in Cusco.

Avenida Pardo

Avenida Pardo, also known as the "Promenade of Heroes," is a distinguished street in Cusco, renowned for its architectural beauty. This street is adorned with elegant "Chalet" style houses and lush gardens that enhance its charm. In addition to its visual appeal, Avenida Pardo houses monuments dedicated to six brave heroes of Peruvian history.

This iconic place is not only a landmark in Cusco but also considered a patrimonial treasure due to its rich historical legacy, reflecting the "Republican Era." Over the years, Avenida Pardo has experienced various transformations, from its early days as "La Alameda," to becoming the picturesque and significant promenade it is today.

Calle Santa Clara

Calle Santa Clara is much more than just a street; it is a symbol of the rich cultural heritage and dynamic evolution of Cusco. It is a living witness to the history of this ancient Inca capital. From ancient times, it has been the stage for significant events, from religious celebrations to momentous political occurrences, which have left an indelible mark on the city's historical development.

But its importance is not limited to being a mere spectator of history; Calle Santa Clara has been an active piece in the cultural and social evolution of Cusco. Over the years, it has undergone significant changes, reflecting the transformations that have occurred in the city. From the architecture of its buildings to the economic activities that take place there, every aspect of the street tells a fascinating story about the development of Cusco over time.

However, what makes Calle Santa Clara truly unique is its ability to preserve its historical essence while adapting to the modern rhythm. Despite the transformations, it still retains that colonial charm and that air of mysticism that makes it a special place to visit and explore.

Emblematic Streets of Cusco

Cusco, a historic city in Peru, is filled with emblematic streets that reflect its rich cultural and architectural heritage. Some of the most notable streets include:

Calle Hatun Rumiyoc: Stone of the 12 Angles

This street is famous for housing the famous "Stone of the 12 Angles," an impressive example of Inca construction skill. It is also home to the Archbishop's Palace and the Stone of the 12 Angles, showcasing the Incas' ability in stone carving.

Avenida El Sol: Commercial Axis

This avenue is one of the city's main thoroughfares and connects many important places, such as the Plaza de Armas and the Temple of the Sun (Qorikancha). It is also known for its shops, restaurants, and the vibrant activity surrounding it.

Calle Plateros: Craftsmanship and Jewelry

Known for its numerous silver craft shops, this street is a popular place to buy handmade jewelry and other artisan products. It is an excellent option for those interested in taking home a unique souvenir from Cusco.

Calle Triunfo: History of Conquest

This historic street is named after the Triumph Arch located at its end near the Cusco Cathedral. It is a lively street with a mix of shops, restaurants, and hotels, and it is one of the main routes to access the Plaza de Armas from the San Blas neighborhood or vice versa.

Calle San Blas: Bohemian Neighborhood

Calle San Blas is the epicenter of the bohemian San Blas Neighborhood. With its colonial architecture, artist workshops, art galleries, and cultural events, this cobblestone street is known for its creative and vibrant atmosphere. Plaza San Blas, at the end of the street, offers a charming space to enjoy local culture and admire the Church of San Blas.

Frequently Asked Questions About the Streets of Cusco

Cusco is steeped in rich culture and breathtaking colonial architecture that leaves its visitors breathless. Its cobblestone streets tell stories of the past and bear witness to the fusion between Inca culture and Spanish influence. Here are answers to some frequently asked questions about the streets of this enchanting city:

What is the main street of Cusco called?

The main street of Cusco, a vital artery that winds through the heart of the city, is the famous Avenida El Sol. This road not only serves as the main access point for visitors arriving in Cusco but also as a symbolic dividing line between the city's past and present.

What is the center of Cusco called?

The center of Cusco is the iconic Plaza de Armas. This plaza, also known as the Main Square, is the vibrant heart of the city and a meeting point for locals and tourists alike. Surrounded by majestic colonial buildings, including the Cusco Cathedral and the Church of the Company of Jesus, the Plaza de Armas radiates history and beauty in every corner. It is a perfect place to soak up the cultural atmosphere of Cusco, from folk music to local handicrafts and even the cultural performances that take place in this central square on Sundays.

How to get to the Plaza de Armas of Cusco?

Getting to the Plaza de Armas of Cusco is quite simple, as it is located in the very heart of the city. If you are staying somewhere in the historic center, it is very likely that you can reach the plaza on foot, enjoying the charm of the narrow cobblestone streets and colorful colonial facades along the way.

For those coming from other parts of the city or looking for faster transportation, taxis are a convenient option. Cusco has an abundance of taxis that can take you directly to the Plaza de Armas at a reasonable price. It is important to agree on the fare with the driver before getting into the taxi to avoid unpleasant surprises at the end of the journey.

Do not hesitate to ask a local Cusqueño for directions to the Main Square or any other information you need. They will gladly help you, as they are warm and willing to assist in whatever you need.

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