June 27, 2011
– Hola y Bienvenidos de Cuzco, Peru- the second part of my adventure.
Cuzco, Peru is the archeological capital of Peru, the capital of the Inca Empire, and home to roughly 500,000 Peruvians, a stark difference from the 13 million of Mexico City. Being the home to so many archeological finds, it is understandable that there are quite a bit of tourists, not to mention we happened to arrive during one of the biggest cultural weeks in the year.
The first event we got to experience was on our first night, La noche de luz (Night of Lights). They had a fireworks and light show in the main plaza in town (Plaza de Armas) and then a concert by some Peruvian artist. My host sister took me with some of her friends from work. It was really a cool experience to start the week.
|Wagner and his classmates at Pisaq|
The second cultural event we got to take place in was Corpus Christi. This event takes place 60 days after Easter and has a huge festival (once again in Plaza de Armas) where all of the regions of Peru send a priest to celebrate the Santos and remember the meaning of Communion. There were so many people in the streets that it was impossible to move, but it was really cool to be a part of.
The day after Corpus Christi was Inti Raymi, which is the Inca ritual to the sun. It takes place every year on June 24 and has three parts spread out all through Cuzco. We had to use some creative methods to see the parts, but in the end it was a really cool experience and I am glad we got to be a part of it. Another really cool thing about the ceremony is that it is all in Quechua which is the native language of the Incas and still used widely in Peru.
In addition to all of our festivals we got to do some exploring of the ruins as well. We went to the archeological park at Saqsayhuaman, which is just outside of Cuzco. Inside the park there are numerous different ruins, including Puca Pucara (Quechua for Red Fort) which I have to make a mini documentary of.
Along with the park, we got to visit the ancient cities of Pisaq and Ollantaytanbo. Being in these cities and learning about the Incas is truly mind blowing. For example, all of there cities are built at the same altitude of three kilometers or higher. Not only are they the same altitude, they are all in the shape of animal that was important to their culture (ie pumas, condors, llamas…). Since every city was built at a high altitude (and in the mountains) each was also designed so that during the winter and summer solstice (June 21 and December 22) the sun would make a triangle focusing on the eye of the animal that the city was designed as. See what I mean about mind blowing?! I can’t wait to learn more about their people and culture, I find it incredibly fascinating.
If you’re interested in reading more information on any of the events listed above, or reading more about my daily adventures check out my blog at gtraviswagner.wordpress.com or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. If you feel like practicing a little español yourself, our class has a blog with directed entries at tinkutravelers.wordpress.com.
Glenn Travis Wagner
Men’s Swimming and Diving, 2011