of the City: There is some uncertainty
about the correct name of the city. According to some
chroniclers, in the first centuries of the existence
of this most important city in pre-Columbian South-America,
its name was Akamama that according to Guaman Poma
de Ayala means "chicha's mother" (chicha
is a fermented corn beer).
Possibly it was Aqhamama -in the modern Quechua spelling-
or "chicha mother". Surely that name became useless
by the beginning of the Inkan development. When this was the
ancient Capital of the Tawantinsuyo, it was named as Qosqo,
word that is translated as "navel" or "center".
That is the regular name for any Quechua speaking Andean Man.
After the Spanish invasion in 1533 the name was transformed
into Cuzco, word that according to the Spanish language dictionary
is contemptuous, meaning "hypocrite", "humpback"
and "small dog". This was a way to minimize or satirize
the name of the city. Later the name was changed into Cusco,
because over here "z" is not pronounced as in Spain.
By the end of the XX century a very strong social movement
is willing to preserve the original name of this ancient city;
thus since June 20, 1990, the City's Municipality by means
of Town Council Agreement Nº 078-A/MC-SG-90 stated that
the official name is Qosqo.
in Qosqo City by the beginning of the XXI century is projected
to be 300,000 inhabitants. The annual growth rate is approximately
4%. In 1821 after 3 centuries of Spanish colonial administration,
this city had about 40,000 people. In the Tawantinsuyo's apogee
it should had between 225 to 300 thousand inhabitants.
is 3,400 meters above sea level (11,150 feet). Some persons
not used to the high altitude get problems as a consequence
of the oxygen scarcity. There is an inverse relationship:
the higher the altitude, the smaller the amount of oxygen.
That phenomenon makes changes in people who live in high altitudes;
they develop their hearts and lungs bigger. Their blood contains
a higher amount of red cells too. Scarcity of oxygen produces
in some people the altitude sickness that is also known as
soroche or sickness of Monge. The symptoms include sleeplessness,
headaches, increased excitability, shortness of breath, and
a lower threshold of pain and taste. Tendon reflexes slow
down and there may be loss of weight, thyroid deficiency,
lung edema, or infections. Women may experience dysmenorrhea
or amenorrhea, and many people experience psychological or
mental disturbances. For some people it may take days, weeks
or even years to adjust to some altitudes.
45". Our latitude indicates that we should have a tropical
or equatorial weather, but it is not like that. Qosqo is cooler
because of its high altitude.
33". We are 5 hours later than the Greenwich Mean Time.
It is relatively
cool. The annual average in the city is between 10.3°
to 11.3° Celsius (50.54° to 52.34° Fahrenheit).
Over here there is some uniformity in temperature between
summer and winter. Normally it is somewhat cold at nighttime
and during the first hours in the early morning while that
at midday temperature increases considerably. During the early
mornings in June and July temperature frequently drops to
5° and 7°C below zero (23° and 19.4°F).
in which Qosqo is found and its proximity to the equator make
the city's climate so special. There are just 2 well-defined
seasons: a dry season and another rainy one. The dry season
is from May to October and the rainy season from November
to April. Generally, rainfall fluctuates between 600 to 880
mm. per year, that is between 31.5 to 34.5 inches.
In the lower
section of the Qosqo Valley there is an annual humidity average
of 64 %.
- Peruvian Republic: 1'285,215 Km² (496,221 mile²)
- Inka Region: 175,280 Km² (67,676 mile²)
- Qosqo Department: 76,225 Km² (29,430 mile²)
- Qosqo Province: 523 Km² (202 mile²)
The original landscape of the valley in which the
city is located has suffered some important changes.
Pre-Columbian civilizations were ecologist cultures
that learned to respect and live along with nature.
In ancient times the grounds have been covered with
sparse grasses, ichu (Stipa ichu) a native bunch grass,
bushes and low trees. Among the most important native
plants and bushes are: ñucchu (Salvia oppositiflora),
yerba mora or ccaya-ccaya (Solanum nigrum), cow's
tongue or llaque (Rumex crispus), male llanten or
waqa kallo (Plantago hirtella).
Minor nettle or quisa (Urtica urens), yawar ch'onka (Oenothera
rosea), ch'iri-ch'iri (Grindela boliviana), cancer herb (Stachys
bogotensis), trinitaria or wallwa (Psoralea mexicana), q'eto-q'eto
(Gnaphalium spicatum), wild tobacco or qhamasayri (Nicotiana
paniculata), supai karko (Nicotiana glauca), dog thornbush
or alkoquiska (Xanthium spinosum), dandelion or pilli-pilli
(Taraxacum officinale), muña (Minthostachys spicata),
chicchipa (Tagetes mandoni), verbena (Verbena litoralis),
t'ankar quiska (Solanum pseudolicioides), llaulli (Barnadesia
horrida), kantu (Cantua buxifolia) -a bush having red or yellow
flowers that are considered as the Peruvian national flowers-,
marqhu (Ambrosia peruviana), q'era (Lupinus condesuflorus),
manca p'aki (Eupatorium sternbergianum), rata-rata (Abutilon
arboreum), runto-runto (Calceolaria cuneiformis), angel's
trumpet or floripondio (Datura arborea), red angel's trumpet
(Datura sanguinea), roq'e (Colletia spinosissima), panti (Cosmos
peucedanifolius), mountain ginger (Canna iridiflora), achupalla
(Pitcairnia ferruginea), kcayara (Puya herrerrae), aguaimanto
(Prunus), chunta paqpa (Fourcroya andina), century plant or
paqpa (Agave americana), prickly pear or tuna (Opuntia ficus
indica), p'ata quiska (Opuntia exaltata), jawaq'ollay or giant
cactus (Trichocereus cuzcoensis), atoq-wakachi (Opuntia tunicata),
niwa (Cortadería rudiuscula), ch'illca (Baccharis polyanta),
maych'a or árnica (Senecio pseudotites), begonia or
achankarai (Begonia sp.), etc.
Among the most important native trees are: chachacomo (Escallonia
resinosa), molle or false pepper (Schinus molle), kiswar (Buddleia
longifolia or incana), qolle (Buddleia coriácea), elderberry
or sauco (Sambucus peruviana), capuli cherry (Physalis peruviana),
lloq'e (Kageneckia lanceolata), tara (Caesalpinia spinosa),
huayruro (Citharexylum herrerae), alder tree or lambran (Alnus
jorulensis), cedar (Cedrela herrerae), coral tree or pisonay
(Erythrina falcata), weeping willow (Salix humboldtiana),
waranway (Tecoma sambucifolia), q'euña (Polylepis incana
or racemosa), etc.
Since colonial days people from the city have been exterminating
slowly many bushes and almost all of the valley's native trees
for use as firewood. Today the trees that dominate our valleys
are eucalyptus (Eucalyptus globulus), imported from Australia
in the 1880s. Another element that has changed the original
landscape of the valley is the grass known as kikuyo (Pennisetun
clandestinum), grass native from Eritrea and Abyssinia -present
day Ethiopia- that was brought from Kenya and planted first
in the Qosqo Valley in 1928. In the very beginning it was
imported with ornamental purposes and as cattle pasture. Today
it grows wildly even in the very high Andean Mountains as
a pest that reduces the farmlands. It is appreciated by cattlemen
but hated by farmers.
The Qosqo Valley
is located by the mid-west of the Peruvian Andes, not so far
away from what is known as the "Vilcanota Node".
Mountains around it contain mainly sedimentary rocks. However,
there is an important limestone formation and some "stocks"
or outcrop igneous formations. Among the most important mountains
surrounding Qosqo City, named clockwise are: on the northern
side Saqsaywaman, Pukamoqo, Socorro and farther away Senqa
(4400 mts., 14432 ft.) and the Fortaleza (4193 mts., 13750
ft.). Advancing to the east side are the Pikol (4482 mts.,
14700 ft.) and the range of Pachatusan (4842 mts., 15880 ft.).
Towards the Southeast are the Machu Loma, the mythological
Wanakauri (4080 mts., 13382 ft.), Santa Ana; farther south
is the Anawarque (4050 mts., 13284 ft.), Qachona, and closer
the Choqo, Araja, Muyu-Orqo and the Condoroma which closer
side to the city is named Araway Qhata where today the sign
"Viva el Perú" ("Long life for Peru")
is found; to the southwest are the Pukín, Waman Charpa
and further away the Mama Simona (4300 mts., 14105 ft.). Dominating
the western side are the K'illki and Picchu (3820 mts., 12530
ft.). On the top of the Picchu Mountain today many microwave
antennas are placed.
Besides, in the Qosqo Region there are also some very important
mountain chains, standing out the Cordillera (Range of Mountains)
of Vilcanota towards the city's east and which highest peak
is the Ausangate over 6372 mts. (20905 ft.); the Cordillera
of Urubamba towards the northwest with its highest peak La
Veronica over 5682 mts. (18641 ft.); and the Cordillera of
Vilcabamba toward the west and which highest summit is the
Salkantay over 6271 mts. (20574 ft.).