Cusco, one of the oldest cities in the Americas, was once the capital of the Inca Empire between 1400 and 1500. The Spanish reconstructed Cusco after destroying nearly all the Inca Empire and its cultural heritage after 16th century. The distinct layer of large stones at the bottom of some buildings is what remains of the Incas from the Spanish Conquest at the city of Cusco. Now, the city is known as the “Tourist Capital of Peru” and the “Cultural Heritage of the Nation.” Cusco has many popular museums which exhibit important art, history, and culture of the Incas and other important Peruvian civilizations.
The Choco Museum is a must go to place especially for chocolate lovers. The museum is free and also offers a free tour about the history of coca beans and the process of making chocolate. During the tour, each guest is welcome to try free samples such as raw and roasted coca beans (the latter has a relatively less bitter taste due to the roasting process), five different flavors of chocolate including spicy, milk, dark, mate and white, coca tea, hot chocolate, flavored jams made with coca beans and flavored pisco chocolate liqueur (our favorite is a mix of mocha and coffee). If you are interested, the museum also offers various classes on processing and making chocolate.
Centro de Textiles del Cusco is famous for its high quality hand-woven and authentic textiles. It is a small museum which appears like a shop that contains regional textiles and patterns at first sight, but the quality of its weaving is far superior when compared to other artisan shops. The museum is free and offers weaving demonstrations. You can learn about the process of spinning, dyeing, and weaving the wool into traditional patterns. The products here are a bit pricy but definitely worth it because of the high quality. It is a good place to explore during the afternoon and to spend some time to appreciate the art of making textiles.
The Incan Museum is a great place to learn more about the pre-Inca civilizations and the Inca culture. The museum contains a variety of collections, including ceramics, jewelry, vases, textiles, mummies, and drinking vessels. It is a big museum in compared to other museums in Cusco, most of the exhibitions are available in both English and Spanish. The museum focuses on the history of the Incan Empire during the colonial period, its artworks and displays show the transition of the Incans before and after the Spanish Invasion. An interesting place to explore and learn more about how the Incans deal with the Spanish invasion.
The Qoricancha Site Museum is a small place that consists of five rooms, each of which explains the story of the people who lived on these lands during the pre-Inca, the Inca and the Colonial periods. The museum is located at the Qoricancha, known as the Temple of the Sun. Most of the Incan structures at this temple were destroyed when the Spanish arrived, but the Incan foundation was incorporated into the Spanish Church Santo Domingo. The distinct layer between the bottom and upper parts of the walls shows the transition from the Incan period to the colonial era.
Below is a list of information on the most popular museums in Cusco:
- Choco Museum (Choco Museo), located on Calle Garcilaso 210 Calle Garcilaso 210 | Int. 216
- +51 084 244765. Free
- 9am to 7pm
- Centro de Textiles del Cusco, located on Avenida Sol 603
- +51 84 228117. Free
- 7:30am to 8pm
- Incan Museum (Museo Inca), located on Cuesta del Almirante 103
- +51 084 237380. 10 soles per person
- 8am to 6pm
- Qoricancha Site Museum, located on Plazoleta de Santo Domingo
- +51 084 249176. Included in the Cusco Tourist Ticket
- 8am to 5pm
- Quechua Museum (Museo Quechua), located on Calle Zetas 109 Junto al Templo Santo Domingo
- +51 974 790 301. Free
- 8am to 5pm
- Pre-Colombian Art Museum, located on Plaza de las Nazarenas
- +51 084 233210. 10 soles per person
- 9am to 8pm
By Renata Ma