Cuzco is the largest and most comfortable city from which tourists can begin visits to other important Inca sites in the region like Machu Picchu and the Sacred Valley of the Incas. It is relatively easy to get to Cuzco; it has an airport with both domestic and international flights; you can also get to Cuzco by train and there are bus services to and from multiple locations. Cuzco has plenty of hotels in all categories and restaurants, nightlife and shops service both resident and visitor. Cuzco is known for its indigenous population - often seen on the streets in traditional clothing.
Cuzco is today an amazing mixture of the Inca capital and the colonial city. Of the first, it preserves impressive leftovers, especially its plan: walls of meticulously cut granite or andesite, straight-lined streets running within the walls, ruins of the Sun Temple of which the Golden Garden, once covered with sculptures of precious metals, was stolen by the Spanish soldiers to enrich the coffers of Charles V.
Of the colonial city, there remain the freshly whitewashed squat houses, the palace and the marvelous Baroque churches which achieved the impossible fusion of the Plateresco, Mudejar or Churrigueresco styles with that of the Inca tradition.
The first Spaniards arrived in the city on November 15, 1533. Spanish conquistador Francisco Pizarro officially discovered Cuzco on March 23, 1534, naming it the "Very noble and great city of Cuzco". The many buildings constructed after the Spanish conquest are of Spanish influence with a mix of Inca architecture, including the Santa Clara and San Blas barrios. The Spanish undertook the construction of a new city on the foundations of the old Inca city, replacing temples with churches and palaces with mansions for the conquerors.
Cuzco was the center for the Spanish colonization and spread of Christianity in the Andean world. It became very prosperous thanks to agriculture, cattle raising and mining, as well as its trade with Spain. Until the late 18th century Cuzco was the most populous city in the continent, even more than Lima. At present the city has a population of around 400,000 people.
Cuzco enjoys a temperate climate, with the rainy season from November to March and the dry season from April to October.