of the nobles, and is so great and beautiful that it would be worthy of Spain.
—Pedro Sancho de la Hoz, secretary to Francisco Pizarro, 1534
Cusco was a holy city. It was the capital of the Inka Empire, home of the Shapa Inka (the Inka ruler), and the principal seat of religion. For the Inka, it was the chawpi (center) of the empire and the universe. From Cusco’s main plaza, the roads of the Qhapaq Ñan stretched out to the four regions of Tawantinsuyu.
Reflections from the Past
In 1925, when I was eight years old, my mother took me from my native land of Anta to Cusco....
During my journey, my mother showed me the sacred spring used for purification before entering Cusco. My mother asked me to remove my shoes, wash my feet, hands, and face, say a prayer.... Cusco is a sacred city, still powerful today.