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Saturday May 27, 2023: The New Groove

Qosqo is the ancient name of Cusco and sounds more like Costco. Cuzco has many monikers. Cusco is considered the center or navel of the Inca Empire. Or it could be called the Rome of South America. Or go by the name of the oldest still inhabited city in South America.

NEWSFLASH: USA and Canada are taught that there are seven continents and South America, Central America, and Europe teaches that there are six continents. They regard North America, central America and South America as one continent…so the answer depends on who you ask!!!

At one time Cusco was a lake so the old part of town is surrounded by higher ground. The soil is rich. In the past, because Cusco is on a geographic fault and has many earthquakes, buildings could only be seven stories high but, with more improved building methods, the maximum is now 14. Also, after 50 years, schools are demolished and rebuilt.

The oxygen at Cusco is thin due to air at an elevation of over 11,000 feet. We must catch more oxygen by deep breathing. Our bodies are making more red blood cells to give more oxygen to our cells. Therefore, we need to drink more water. Intestinal disturbances are common as well.

Radiation is also strong at this high altitude so whether it is sunny or cloudy, wear sunscreen. Perú has two seasons. Summer is wet. Winter is dry.

We checked into the hotel and here is the key. They really want you to leave your key at the front desk. Rob agrees!!!

The Inca economy was not based on gold or even silver. It was based on agriculture and textiles. They used gold and silver as decoration but not as money. They observed and improved knowledge of metallurgy and would share that knowledge.

Silver is for the moon and represents woman, and gold is for the sun and represents man. These precious metals were made for religious celebrations.

Inca means king and the name of the people is Quechua. But when the Spanish returned to Europe and told of the people in Peru, they called them Incas. And the rest is history.

The city of Cusco was laid out like a puma which is one of their religious symbols. I can’t imagine how they did this without an airplane!!!

In 1532, the Spanish arrived. Soon, the Incas were in a civil war as the king died due to smallpox, and he did not have time to pick a successor. His sons were fighting over who would be the next king. The Spanish helped one side of this divided kingdom.

In any Inca city, there were four main trails in the cardinal direction. Therefore, each road of one city connected with another in a single trail. These were paved with stones. This seemed very much like the Roman roads.

The Inca were good builders. They worked on water drainage before any houses were built. The drainage still works today.

The Spanish colonials built their buildings on top of the Incas buildings. They also built churches on top of the Inca’s holy places in an effort to eliminate their religion.

The most beautiful, most talented young girls were brought to live in Cusco. It was an honor for the family of the chosen. She learned to make textiles for the king. They even wove with gold and silver strands. They made pottery that was for only one day of the Sun Festival, then they were broken. They also learned to cook. Each was preparing for the ultimate honor to become a wife of the king.

The king was treated as a god. When attending the festival, he was carried and his feet never touched ground and flowers were thrown upon his path.

Spanish priests noticed that the indigenous people brought out their mummified past kings and paraded them around the city square for an Inca celebration for the winter solstice on June 21. So the Catholics said to bring the saints from inside the church outside and parade them around the streets for Corpus Christi. This type of duality leads to syncretism.

Even today, the The Cusco city celebration starts on June 1 and reaches a climax during the sun festival at the solstice which is celebrated by the indigenous tribes. It is followed by the celebration of Corpus Cristi.

Because the glaciers are melting, a well preserved mummy which has been named Juanita was found and has given archeologists more information about ancient Perú.

Perú finds so many archeological sites. How do they choose what to save? They try to build a road and construction stops because they uncover a wall or a fountain. Also, they don’t have much information about past cultures as the Spanish destroyed everything associated with the past.

Here is some current news: The new Transformer movie was filmed in Perú and they were given an advanced viewing in the city square. I plan to go see it when I am back home.

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