Most come to Cusco (also spelled Cusco and Qosqo; population 350,000) en route to Machu Picchu, but to many it is Cusco that leaves them breathless, although maybe thatis from the altitude, which stands at 3,360m/11,000 feet above sea level.
It's a city shrounded in myths and legends, thiught even now to have elements of magic. At night the lights on thesurrounding hillsides resemble stars so much that it can be difficultto tell where the earth ends and the leavens start. It is oneof the most importan tourist destinationsd in the world. Most of Peru's two million annual visitors passs through here. The Incas considered it the navel of the world because it was once a transportation hub for the Incan Empire andconnected much of the entirecontinentand much of modern day tourism revolves around it still. It is the backpacker hub of the Americas, one of the best locations for language schools, an excellent base for hiking,rafting, trips into the jungle, and other adventurous activities. There are a few incredible hotels, fine dining restaurants and charming cafés,a lively nightlife, immense Incan buit walls, an array of Pre Columbian ruins, and stuning churches built on ancient temples.