CUSCO Enigmatic City: When this ancient city was the Tawantinsuyo's Capital it also must have been the biggest and most important metropolis of the continent (without chauvinism, neither willing to remove value of some other pre-Columbian cities in America). There are opposing discrepancies about the city's population during its apogee; they arose because of the very superficial and imaginary existing data given by the first chroniclers, and because today it is difficult to measure the demographic concentration existing by that time. Pedro Sancho de la Hoz, a Spanish soldier who acted as Pizarro's secretary, wrote in 1543 that in the city were found more than 100,000 houses. Victor Angles, by deduction based on some chronicles, states categorically that the population was 300,000 inhabitants. Besides, Santiago Agurto following relative population densities estimates about 126,000 persons for the urban zone and about 100,000 for the rural one, that is, a total population for the Tawantinsuyo's Capital of about 225,000 inhabitants.
The city must have been very well organized according to the classic Inkan City Planning. Its narrow and normally straight streets were properly paved with cobblestones and with channels in the middle or at one side of them conducting clean water that was consumed by the population. The walls of its buildings were made with carved stones, at least in the downtown area, and in the suburbs with mud-brick or "pirka" type walls but lined with painted stucco or plaster made of clay. Its roofs were thatched and very steep. The homes had a considerable scarcity of openings as doorways or windows in order to enable interior heating in cold seasons. In short, it was a pleasant organized city, and without any pollution.
The ancient Inkan Metropolis was divided into two great sectors from a line formed by the roads leading towards the Antisuyo and Contisuyo, that is, the present-day streets of Triunfo, Hatun Rumiyoq, Cuesta San Blas, and on the other end the streets of Marquez, Santa Clara and Hospital. These two sectors were: towards the north, the Hanan Qosqo, modified form of "Hawan Qosqo" ("Upper Qosqo"), inhabited by the dynasty since the sixth Inkan ruler Inka Roqa. Towards the south was the Urin Qosqo which is a modified form of "Uran Qosqo" ("Lower Qosqo"); preferred since the founder of the Tawantinsuyo, Manko Qhapaq until the fifth ruler Qhapaq Yupanqui.Chroniclers state, more over, that the city was divided in different districts that according to Garcilaso Inca de la Vega were 13. Starting on the north and clockwise they were: Qolqanpata or "Storehouses District" present quarter of San Cristobal; Kantupata or "Kantu Flowers District" (today "Kantu" -Cantua buxifolia- is the Peruvian national flower); Pumakurko, or the "Puma's Spinal Column", the main street of this district still keeps its original name; T'oqokachi or "Hollow Salt", that today is located in the San Blas quarter; Munay Senqa or district of the "Pretty Nose" located in present-day Recoleta; Rimaq Panpa or "Speaking Plaza", present Limaqpampa square; Pumaq Chupan or "Puma's Tail", located in the area of present-day fountain in front of the Savoy hotel; K'ayao Cachi o "Salt Formation" in the present district of Qoripata; Ch'akill Chaka corresponding to the present-day neighborhoods of Santiago and Belen; Piqchu that means "summit or mountain" still keeps its name; K'illipata or "Kestrel District" (k'illichu = Kestrel -sparrow hawk-) located before Piqchu; Karmenqa present district of Santa Ana; Wakapunku or "Temple Doorway", present-day Saphi street. Nevertheless, Cusquenian scholar Manuel Chávez Ballón states that there were 12 districts, suppressing Pumakurko and K'illipata but adding Qoripata, and that they were distributed in groups of 3 following the four Suyos or quarters.
It is evident that city life in ancient Qosqo elapsed around its great Plaza that was found in its present location but which territory was cut off by its middle in colonial times. It is known that this huge Plaza was divided into two sectors by the Saphi ("Root") River that flowed channeled and covered by the middle of it. One of those sectors, before the today's Cathedral, was assigned for the most important political and religious ceremonies of the Tawantinsuyo. However, there is controversy about this sector's name; many chroniclers indicate that its original name was Haukaypata that would mean "Ceremonial Sector", but tradition and some scholars state that it originally was Wakaypata (Weeping Sector). The other half of the Plaza was the Kusipata (Cheer Sector), because after the great ceremonies, the population was concentrated in this Plaza's sector in order to carry out their parties, to eat and drink. This great Plaza was paved in different segments with flagstones, and mainly covered with sea sand that enabled its use in the rainy season. By the center of those two sectors there was a special high platform known as Usnu from which the Inka, the priests or other officials could address their people.
The most important buildings were concentrated around the great Plaza, they were mainly palaces of some of the Inkan Society's Rulers. Among them stood out the Inka Pachakuteq's palace known as Qasana towards the plaza's northeast forming the corner with present-day Plateros Street. Towards the north of the previous was the palace of Inka Roqa named Qoraqora. Inka Wiraqocha's palace Kiswar Kancha was in the spot where today is the Cathedral. In front of that palace there was a Suntur Wasi, a building that had a cylindrical shape with conical roofing and served as arms and emblems house. The Hatun Kancha palace belonging to Inka Yupanqui was to the east of the previous. The Ajlla Wasi or Virgins of the Sun's House was on the northeast side of the present-day Compañia de Jesus church. The Amaru Kancha was the palace of Wayna Qhapaq occupied by the today's Compañia de Jesus Church, surrounded by present-day Ave. Sol, Afligidos and Loreto streets. In front of this last palace there was another Suntur Wasi too. Even more, in the downtown area of the city there were some other palaces such as the Pukamarka that was palace of Tupaq Inka Yupanqui, which magnificent walls are still seen in present-day Maruri Street and it was also surrounded by the present streets of San Agustin, Santa Catalina Ancha and Arequipa. Another was the palace of Hatunrumiyoq (it is a modern name because over here, in the green diorite wall is the famous twelve angled stone, its original name is unknown) that belonged to Inka Roqa but today is Archbishop's palace. The Qollqanpata palace was located in the present San Cristobal parish and was supposed to be property of the first Inka Manko Qhapaq.
In December last á Peru was chosen as the best culinary destination on the planet. The prize was awarded by the World Travel Awards in New Delhi, India. Peruvian cuisine is decidedly conquering the hearts of the everyday world, and it is as often as they say, “love conquers the stomach.” The Financial Times has even called Peru, “Super-power gastronomic” which proves that there really is a Peruvian culinary effect. But what is the secret of the Peruvian food and how they managed to win it in the world of international gourmet food?
Peru has won the best culinary destination, after defeating Mexico, France, Spain, Thailand, China, Italy and many “other other countries.
This victory, Peru owes first to its diversity. Indeed, Peru has a wealth of products with over 4000 varieties of potato, 2,000 types of sweet potatoes, 2,000 species of fish and over 750 species of fruits. Peru is a country of spice and pepper as the lacuma or custard apple. The abundance and diversity of products has created a huge variety of recipes.
The food of the Sierra, the Andes
In the mountains of Peru, the “power base is the Andean potato and cassava. Meat consumed comes from” alpaca, a camelid the flesh tender and tasty and the guinea pig called Cuy, a Peru is very famous ..
One dish typical of this region is the Pachamanca: meat with vegetables in a banana leaf buried in the ground and cooked on a bed of hot stones. One way to honor Mother Earth.
CUSCO is a great destination to enjoy a huge variety of dishes...
The Coast food
Peru has a long coastline facing the Pacific. In this region represents only 10% of the land area but where 60% of the population is clustered, the dishes are mostly made with fish and shellfish. Why not go for a delicious ceviche (raw fish marinated in lemon juice) or enjoy a grilled squid?! But there are many dishes of meat such as anti-cuchos (skewers of grilled beef heart) and als impressive desserts (250 different desserts are listed in Peru) as the three milks cake (pastel 3 leches), or even the “Mazamorra Morada” (rice pudding sprinkled with coconut shavings and raspberry cream). Peru also surprised by the variety of dessert because usually in other countries of South America, the dessert is not a big consideration.
The food of the Jungle
Part jungles of Peru also has a food composed of typical and extremely varied.: Here the population uses natural resources and local fish like Paiche, the largest freshwater fish, or “carachama.” One of the typical specialties of the jungle is “Juane“, a dish made of rice, seasoned with spices, which you can add chicken and wrapped in a leaf and served with Bijao Patacon (green banana fried). Another specialty of the jungle is the “Cecina“, a delicious smoked ham can be eaten raw or cooked. Finally, the jungle is an impressive amount of tropical fruits: pineapple, mango, passion fruit, camu camu (fruit that has 40 times more vitamin C than kiwi)
Peru’s culinary revolution
If Peruvian cuisine has become famous in the space of ten years, it is also through a man, Gaston Acurio, Peruvian recognized chef, who has decided to make Peruvian food one of the essential local culture and great marketing ploy. Gaston Acurio has opened over 30 restaurants in the world, representing more than 60 million dollars in annual revenue.
Today, 80,000 students in its annual Peruvian cooking school which is one of the highest